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NBA commissioner: Donald Sterling might still own Clippers at start of next season

Marc J. Spears
Yahoo Sports
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver speaks at a news conference during the NBA board of governors meeting Tuesday, July 15, 2014, in Las Vegas
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NBA Commissioner Adam Silver speaks at a news conference during the NBA board of governors meeting Tuesday, July 15, 2014, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)

LAS VEGAS – NBA commissioner Adam Silver said Tuesday there's still a possibility Donald Sterling will own the Los Angeles Clippers at the start of next season.

Sterling's wife Shelly agreed to sell the Clippers for $2 billion to former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, but Donald Sterling is contesting the sale in court.

"No, I cannot say with certainty [Sterling won't still own the team], and I can't say with certainty because it's in the hands of the probate court right now, and Donald is in the process of suing us for lots of money, and we're defending ourselves against those lawsuits," Silver said. "…I can say with certainty we are doing everything in our power to move Donald out as an owner in the NBA.

"And as I said, if the probate ruling doesn't go in our favor, we'll recommence our procedures under termination. The only reason I say I can't say it with certainty, it's possible some court would step in and stop us."

The NBA banned Sterling for life from the NBA, fined him $2.5 million and immediately began a push to force him to sell his ownership of the Clippers on April 26 after he was recorded telling his reported girlfriend not to bring African-American friends to games. The Sterlings' court case resumes on Monday, and Silver said he expects a quick decision from the judge.

In other news, Silver said he had an idea LeBron James would return to Cleveland, but did not know for sure until he saw the decision on Twitter.

"I really was moved by it," Silver said. "I thought it says a lot about who he is, who he's become over the last four years. …I've gotten to know LeBron pretty well over the years, and so I think from that standpoint, I'm really more like a fan. This seemed to be a great moment for the league.

"Again, I understand it's Miami's loss. But I think that's always going to be the issue when you have such a transcendent player like LeBron. What I heard from a lot of owners in the league is, 'I wish my city were his hometown so he could come home to our market.' But that's just the nature of it."

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