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Donald Sterling controversy remains distraction for Clippers

One day after the NBA banned Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling for life, the team's players and coaches expected they will still be dealing with the fallout of Sterling's racial comments for a while.

"We have so many distractions as a group," Rivers said during a media conference call on Wednesday. "My focus is completely on eliminating the distractions. We talk a lot about keeping the box clean. Right now it's full."

NBA owners will hold a conference call Thursday to discuss the vote to oust Sterling. Three-quarters of the other 29 owners must agree to force Sterling to sell, and the NBA is expecting the decision to be unanimous.

Forbes recently valued the Clippers at $575 million. But given the Clippers' Los Angeles base, arena deal, championship-level roster with All-Stars Chris Paul and Blake Griffin and relatively new practice facility, there is speculation the team could attract $1 billion-plus offers. That's quite a lot of money for a franchise that not too long ago was the punch line of U.S. professional sports.

Already, groups that include Magic Johnson, Oprah Winfrey, Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Dr. Dre have shown interest in pursuing the Clippers.

"It's in a great location," Rivers said. "That has a lot to do with it. We have some pretty good players in place. It is a very valuable franchise."

After the NBA made its ruling on Sterling, the Clippers beat the Golden State Warriors 113-103 Tuesday night to take a 3-2 lead in the first-round series. The Clippers can advance to the second round with a win at Golden State in Game 6 on Thursday.

Rivers doesn't expect the cloud of the Sterling scandal to go away anytime soon.

"We're still in it," Rivers said. "There are so many questions that have to be asked and moving parts internally. There are things we have to find out. Like I told my guys yesterday, this is going to be with us. We just have to deal with it."

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