Panel begins Donald Sterling talks
NEW YORK -- NBA owners seem as committed as commissioner Adam Silver to ending Donald Sterling's ownership of the Los Angeles Clippers.
The league's advisory/finance committee held its first meeting about Sterling on Thursday, two days after Silver said he would urge owners to force a sale of the team.
The 10-member committee held a conference call to discuss "the process for termination of Donald T. Sterling's ownership of the Los Angeles Clippers," NBA executive vice president Mike Bass said in a statement.
"The committee unanimously agreed to move forward as expeditiously as possible and will reconvene next week."
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"No reaction. I mean, you're not surprised by that," Clippers coach Doc Rivers told ESPNLosAngeles.com of the committee's decision. "That's good for them. I think there is a lot of work to be done in that area, and I'm just going to try to stay out of that area."
Later Thursday, sources confirmed to ESPN.com that Sterling has been battling cancer for an extended period of time, news that was first reported by the New York Post.
Silver banned Sterling for life and fined him $2.5 million Tuesday for making racist comments. According to an attorney representing the woman Sterling was talking to, the recording was made by mutual consent and leaked to TMZ by a third party after the woman gave it to a friend for safekeeping.
Sterling can have no association with the league or the team, but Silver wants more.
A forced sale would require approval by three-fourths of the league's 30 owners. Silver said he was confident he would get the votes.
Silver's predecessor, former NBA commissioner Davis Stern, commented on Silver's job performance thus far while at a tech conference in New York City on Thursday.
"He and I worked together for 22 years," Stern told the Wall Street Journal. "I told everyone he was going to be great at his job and I'm delighted to see that I was right."
Minnesota owner Glen Taylor chairs the advisory/finance committee that also includes Miami's Micky Arison, the Lakers' Jeanie Buss, Oklahoma City's Clay Bennett, New York's James Dolan, Boston's Wyc Grousbeck, San Antonio's Peter Holt, Phoenix's Robert Sarver, Indiana's Herb Simon, and Toronto's Larry Tanenbaum.
A number of big names have already expressed interest in buying the team that Sterling has owned since 1981, including Oprah Winfrey and Floyd Mayweather Jr.
On Friday morning, athletic footwear company Sketchers also threw its hat into the ring, as CEO Robert Greenberg said it was exploring buying a stake in the team.
First, owners must force Sterling to give it up -- which he may choose to fight. According to the league's constitution and bylaws, Silver or an owner would have to file a written charge against Sterling, who would have five days to respond. Silver would then call a hearing of the board of governors, which would vote after hearing the evidence against Sterling.
Sacramento Kings owner Vivek Ranadive hopes it doesn't come to that.
"I don't want to talk about kind of the legal side of it because I can't really comment on it, but my feeling is that I have faith in people," he said. "And I would hope that at some point Mr. Sterling would come to his senses and do the right thing. That he would apologize to Magic Johnson, that he would apologize to the fans, the league, the black community and he would do the right thing and he would accept what Commissioner Silver has suggested, he would put the team up for sale and perhaps even take a very small portion of the substantial profits and donate them to a good cause.
"It's not going to be easy to own a team where the fans don't welcome you, where the sponsors shun you and where you're not welcomed by the other owners. And I think he can do the right thing and hopefully good sense will prevail at some point."
Information from Darren Rovell of ESPN.com and The Associated Press was used in this report.