Donald Sterling's Secret Weapon to Avoid a Forced Sale of the Clippers
Donald Sterling may have yet another card up his sleeve to protect his family from losing ownership of the Los Angeles Clippers. Not that this is good news for the Clippers. The battle for ownership could injure the team if players refuse to play on a team governed by Sterling. Although Sterling has remained silent about his plan to retaliate against NBA Commissioner Adam Silver's decision to ban him for life from participating in the NBA, speculations are that Sterling is armoring up for an extensive court battle to overrule the verdict.
So, what could be his secret weapon? This is the question that has drawn the curiosity of many in the NBA world. Considering the fact that Sterling is a former divorce lawyer who knows how to reap rewards from an ugly divorce, many believe that he will play the divorce card. If Donald or his wife Rochelle decides to file for divorce, this could impede the NBA's decision to sell the Clippers, which will put the team under the control of the California family court until the properties are depressed. In fact, the Clippers are owned by a family trust that also includes Rochelle Sterling.
All signs seem to be pointing to a divorce. Sterling's wife has already separated from him and has labeled him as "estranged" after the racist comments he made about African Americans on an audio recording began to circulate in the media. Rochelle has also taken action against Stiviano who was also on the recording claiming that she is her husband's mistress. However, the public is still oblivious as to whether or not she has already hired a divorce lawyer.
There are also some speculations that Sterling may file an antitrust suit against the NBA arguing that the decision to sell the Clippers is an illegal restraint of trade that may force him to accept unreasonable prices. A lawsuit of this magnitude could last for months or years, regardless of the tactic Sterling uses to maintain ownership of the Chippers. This can have a detrimental effect on the Clippers in regards to the upcoming NBA playoffs. Clippers team members are already objecting to playing on a team owned by Sterling and could easily boycott the playoffs. Sterling is known for his strength and determination. This was evident in 1984 when the league filed a lawsuit against the Clippers for $25 million after the team relocated to Los Angeles from San Diego without the permission of the league. Sterling led his team into battle and countersued for $100 million claiming that the league had committed many fraudulent acts against the team after his acquisition. Whether Sterling files for divorce or pulls out another weapon one thing for sure is that this battle is far from over.