The fast unravelling of Donald Sterling has been a fascinating train wreck to watch but there’s really not a lot to say about it other than, in a similar situation, just do the opposite of everything he did. He seriously didn’t do a single thing right. The NBA wants Sterling’s head on a pike and they’re going to get it, for all the right reasons. His position is beyond salvage. But there’s one person in a position to do something reasonable. Something not self-destructive. That’s Shelly Sterling, who owns 1/2 of the Clippers by virtue of being still married to Donald.
Looked at differently, she owns 1/2 of whatever happens to the value of the Clippers, depending on the outcome of the battle with the NBA.
She can choose to side with Donald and sue the NBA when the owners decide to take away the team. They might even win, after years of expensive litigation. But they’ll be left holding a big bag full of nothing. Neither Sterling should be under any illusion that the Clippers are a workable concern with them in charge. The best players will leave for better options. The remaining players will be disgruntled. And the fans, why would they stick around? But more likely the NBA is going to force a fire sale. It’ll take the franchise back. No way, no how, are the Sterlings getting top dollar for the team in that case.
But if Shelly comes out now, ahead of the NBA owners voting, and says, “Yes, I’ll sell. Give us a year to find the right buyer.” She forces her husband’s hand and buys herself time to get the real value of the team. Without first destroying it.
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