An overwhelming majority of NBA teams would vote for Donald Sterling to sell the Clippers, according to comments made Tuesday by numerous owners around the league.
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver does not have the power alone to force Sterling to sell his franchise but an affirming vote from three-fourths of the league’s owners would cement the issue. It was unclear if Sterling was willing to part with his team. He could sue to keep it if the other 29 teams successfully voted him out.
Orlando Magic owner Dan DeVos said his franchise was “behind Adam’s recommendation and plan[s] to vote accordingly” after Silver banned Sterling for life from the NBA and fined him $2.5 million Tuesday.
DeVos was one of many NBA owners to rail on Sterling and hail Silver, who barred Sterling from attending NBA games and practices as well as from making business and player-personnel decisions in the league.
“The commissioner was correct to ban Mr. Sterling from all official NBA business, to levy the stiffest allowable fine, and we will support his recommendation to press for Mr. Sterling to relinquish his ownership of the Los Angeles Clippers franchise,” Chicago Bulls owner Jerry Reinsdorf said in a statement.
Said Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban on Twitter: “I agree 100% with Commissioner Silvers findings and the actions taken against Donald Sterling.”
Some owners used the phrase “wholeheartedly” to indicate their approval, including longtime Indiana Pacers patriarch Herb Simon.
“These past days have been both sad and disturbing for the NBA family,” Simon added in a statement. “It is our responsibility to continue as models of the diversity and inclusion the NBA has long and justly represented.”
New Orleans Pelicans owner Tom Benson said his franchise would “fully support [Silver’s] recommendations moving forward.” Phoenix Suns managing partner Robert Sarver added similar thoughts in a statement, along with Silver receiving “my full support.”
It was unclear when owners would officially vote whether to force the sale of the Clippers, though players’ union vice president Roger Mason Jr. said he hoped for a quick timetable from them.
The Lakers added to the flood of owners condemning the racially tinged comments Sterling purportedly made to a female friend in an audio recording released over the weekend.
“In my statement [Monday], I said I had full confidence in Adam Silver and how he and the NBA would handle this situation,” Lakers governor Jeanie Buss said in a statement. “In today’s announcement, Adam was decisive, firm and compelling and showed great leadership in his condemnation of the horrible and offensive comments that have led to this action.”
The Clippers released a statement without a name attributed to it, saying: “We wholeheartedly support and embrace the decision by the NBA and Commissioner Adam Silver today. Now the healing process begins.”