Report: Clippers owner set to fight NBA ban
Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling plans to sue the NBA if the owners vote to force him to sell the team, the New York Daily News reported Friday.
An NBA executive told the Daily News, "He is not going to sell the team."
The NBA banned Sterling for life and fined him $2.5 million earlier this week for making racist comments caught on an audio recording.
If Sterling sues to hold on to the team, it is believed that a legal battle could take several years to settle.
The NBA took its first step in trying to remove Sterling on Thursday when its advisory/finance committee met to discuss the issue.
The committee plans to meet again next week.
The approval of three-fourths (or 23) of the NBA's owners is needed to force Sterling to sell the team. One of the owners' board of governors told Yahoo Sports that commissioner Adam Silver "has the votes - all of them, I believe."
Silver has said he is confident he has enough required votes.
Sterling spoke out for the first time since he was suspended. In an interview with Los Angeles lifestyle magazine DuJour, Sterling mentioned his regret in how he handled V. Stiviano, the girlfriend with whom he was speaking when the recording that could end up costing him the team was made.
"I wish I had just paid her off," Sterling told the magazine.
The magazine had yet to release any other comments from the billionaire businessman. DuJour reported that Sterling showed remorse while speaking with a reporter. He added that he would do future interviews only with the NBA or Barbara Walters.
The New York Post reported late Thursday night that the 80-year-old Sterling is battling prostate cancer.
Clippers coach Doc Rivers said employees on the team's business side considered not working for the franchise.
Rivers met with team employees who were still upset and angry Friday morning.
"What I witnessed today, you realize this thing has touched a lot of people," Rivers said hours later at the Clippers' training complex. "The people that didn't do anything are being harmed by this."
Rivers visited the employees at the request of other top executives with the Clippers, who will play the Golden State Warriors in Game 7 of their first-round playoff series Saturday night.
Instead of preparing for the biggest game of the season, Rivers spent the morning listening to workers in ticket sales, marketing, and other departments who have been taking the brunt of public backlash against the Clippers.
Rivers has been on the Clippers' bench for less than a year, but the veteran NBA coach and player has emerged as the public face of the franchise. Rivers also is the Clippers' senior vice president for basketball operations, giving him a voice in personnel decisions.