Contrary to earlier reports, Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling has not formally agreed to a proposed $2 billion sale of the team to former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, according to the Los Angeles Times.
The primary stumbling block appears to be the $2.5 million fine and lifetime ban the NBA levied against Sterling after it was revealed last month that he made racially charged statements in privately recorded conversations with his companion, V. Stiviano.
When the Ballmer deal was announced May 30, Sterling allegedly believed the fine and punishment would be dropped in exchange for his cooperation with the sale and abandonment of a $1 billion lawsuit against the league for breach of contract, according to the Los Angeles Times.
An anonymous source told the Times Sterling saw a draft of an NBA statement he believed absolved him of all penalties, but he has since learned this is not the case.
"If they interpreted it (the statement) that way, that is wrong," the source told the Times. "There is no thought of lifting the lifetime ban or the fine being rescinded."
It is unclear what effect Sterling's hesitance would have on the proposed sale, which was negotiated by his estranged wife, Shelly.
Earlier this week, his attorney, Max Blecher, told NBC news Sterling would sign off on the sale because he had resolved all issues with the NBA, the Times and other sources reported.
The league's approval of the sale, which is required, is still pending and the timetable for completion of the deal was uncertain even before Sterling's misgivings were raised.
The NBA, the league and the Sterling Family Trust -- the formal owner of the Clippers -- had reached an agreement under which the trust and Shelly Sterling agreed not to sue the league. Under the agreement, the trust also agreed to indemnify the NBA against "lawsuits from others, including from Donald Sterling."
In essence, the agreement meant the Sterling Family Trust would have to cover any damages incurred by the NBA if Donald Sterling proceeded with his lawsuit.
--City News Service