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Clippers open contract talks with Doc Rivers, have new ‘No. 1 Fan’ in Shelly Sterling

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The Los Angeles Clippers officially belong to Steve Ballmer and are making plans to lock down Coach Doc Rivers with a contract extension, but that doesn’t mean that everyone with the toxic last name of Sterling is out of the picture.

Donald Sterling, banned from the team and the NBA, is, but wife Shelly, who engineered the $2 billion sale, isn’t going way. In addition to having 10 percent of the price spun off into a charitable foundation that she will run, there are other perks: She’ll be given the titles “owner emeritus” and “Clippers No. 1 Fan” for life, she would get three championship rings if the team wins an NBA title, she’ll get two courtside seats for home games and 10 tickets in other sections, six parking spots and 12 VIP passes for Staples Center clubs and lounges.

Never mind that, though. The Clippers are squarely focused on the Kumbaya-ness of their sale.

And getting the man who was the calm center of a storm after Donald Sterling’s racist comments came to light back in the fold is a big part of that. Rivers, who also is the president of basketball operations, deserves the reward if only for his leadership the last three months even though he has two years left on a three-year, $21 million contract.

The prospect of Shelly Sterling, who was implicated in lawsuits involving her husband’s discriminatory housing practices, remaining as the “No. 1 fan” and “owner emeritus” is pretty  sobering, but a long-term deal for Rivers may be the best tonic.

After spending most of her career in traditional print sports journalism, Cindy began blogging and tweeting, first as NFL/Redskins editor, and, since August 2010, at The Early Lead. She also is the social media editor for Sports.
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