It was already all but over — no judge was ever going to undo the $2 billion sale of the Clippers to Steve Ballmer once the sale was enacted.
But nobody expected Donald Sterling to go quietly, either.
He’s not — he has multiple lawsuits still pending against the NBA — but he is not going to continue his legal quest to regain control of the Clippers. He did not appeal to the California Supreme Court to block the sale, reports Michael Mann at Sports Illustrated.
In a development that makes Donald Sterling reacquiring the Los Angeles Clippers virtually impossible, court records indicate that Sterling failed to petition the California Supreme Court for review by Monday’s deadline. The failure means that Sterling has run out of legal options in California to force former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer to return the franchise to him.
Under California law, Sterling had 10 business days from Aug. 13 – the date an intermediate appellate court summarily rejected Sterling’s two petitions for the $2 billion sale of the Clippers be halted or reversed — to petition the California Supreme Court with the same request. It would have been a long shot request, to be sure, but Sterling was entitled to give it a try.
It would have been very Sterling to have tried, but he has apparently thrown in the towel on owning the Clippers again. His legal appeal to the appellate court was for a “stay” to block the sale — not to undo the sale — and that court said there was nothing to stay because the sale had already gone through. The Supreme Court would not have ruled differently.
All Donald’s other legal moves basically are just to get money from the NBA — which is kind of futile because as part of the sale to Ballmer Shelly Sterling (Donald’s wife of 59 years) indemnified the NBA against any damages from Donald Sterling lawsuits. Put simply, any money awarded by a judge has to be paid out of the proceeds of the sale not from the NBA itself — he has to pay himself any legal winnings. And him winning these cases are long shot anyway.
What Donald likely will do is try to make life difficult and embarrassing for the NBA. That is really all he has left. And he has the money and attorneys to do it. It’s the move of a bitter old man, but if the shoe fits…
Fortunately for the Clippers, the days of the Donald Sterling’s ownership are gone. (Shelly Sterling hanging around the fringes of the team was the price for that.)
Kurt Helin, NBC's Pro Basketball Talk