Only a handful of days into his new job, Dick Parsons was confident of at least one thing. The
"My personal belief is that the league will prevail, which means that there will be an ownership change," Parsons said Monday at his introductory news conference as the Clippers' interim chief executive.
"That's a personal belief based on having not only looked at the docs but looked [
Parsons was selected Friday by the NBA to steer the Clippers amid the lifetime ban of owner
An eventual vote of the 30 NBA owners is expected to force Sterling to sell, but he could sue to keep the team he has owned for 33 years.
"I think a prolonged legal battle is in no one's interest," Parsons said at
Parsons started meeting with "beleaguered" Clippers staffers in an attempt to curb turmoil at the top that "leaks down," Parsons said. His next step will be meeting with players.
The Clippers flew to Oklahoma City on Monday in advance of their playoff game Tuesday. Parsons will not be with the team there because his wife is undergoing a medical procedure Tuesday. Parsons did not know whether he would attend the following playoff game Thursday at Staples Center.
He expressed confidence that Clippers players would not try to get out of their contracts if the Sterlings remained owners in the short term. Star point guard
"I think that the actions that the league has taken already, the clarity and the swiftness with which they've taken those actions has kind of tamped down this notion that people want to say, 'Look, all bets are off, I don't want to play for this team, I don't want to be with this league,' " Parsons said. "I think people have seen that the commissioner and the league are lined up in the right place and intending to do the right thing."
Rivers, though, has not publicly said he would return to the Clippers. He has two more years remaining on a three-year, $21-million contract he signed last summer. Rivers is also an executive with the team on the basketball side.
"I have no reason whatsoever to think Doc has got anything in his mind than sort of finishing this out and staying with this team that is moving in a space, really, where I think it's going to become America's team if we get this right," Parsons said. "Americans love a story where somebody gets knocked down, then they get back up, they get back in the ring, they show they have good character. This team also happens to have talent.
"I think there's huge opportunity here. I think Doc sees it. I hope you all see it and I hope we can realize it."
Parsons has not spoken yet with Shelly Sterling but envisions it eventually happening. He said he would not speak with Donald Sterling, citing Sterling's lifelong ban from all NBA activities.
Parsons had not seen the entire interview Sterling granted CNN's
"I would observe as most Americans I think observe that he’s a little late for sure," Parsons said. "But beyond that, I’m here to help turn one of the burners off under the pot, not to turn it up higher."