In the Donald Sterling saga that will not go away, all-star point guard Chris Paul said he might sit out the season if the beleaguered Sterling, who was stripped of ownership of the Los Angeles Clippers by NBA Commissioner Adam Silver, remains as the head of the team.
Sterling is fighting in court against the sale of his team to former Microsoft executive Steve Ballmer, and his unprecedented punishment for making racially charged comments about Black people during a recorded phone call to a girlfriend.
The legal battle could and likely will run into the upcoming season. That’s where it can get even more ugly within the team, which displayed acts of protest against Sterling even prior to Silver’s judgment.
Paul, the head of the NBA Players Association, said he, like coach Doc Rivers, is considering not playing if Sterling maintains ownership of the team.
“That’s something me and Doc are both talking about,” Paul said Thursday after coaching his AAU program, CP3. “Something has to happen, and something needs to happen soon — sooner rather than later.”
Interim Clippers CEO Dick Parsons testified earlier in the week in state court that Rivers told him on multiple occasions that he doesn’t think he wants to continue coaching the team if Sterling remains in control of the franchise.
Further, Paul said other players will consider not playing under Sterling, too.
“We’re all going to talk about it,” Paul said. “We’re all definitely going to talk about it. Doc, Blake Griffin, (DeAndre Jordan). It’s unacceptable.”
The issue remains whether Sterling’s wife, Shelly, acted properly in selling the franchise without his consent. She agreed to a deal with Ballmer for a record $2 billion.
Closing arguments in the probate court case are set for Monday, at which point the judge will determine whether to authorize the sale or throw the situation into further confusion. Donald Sterling has vowed to fight “as long as he lives.”
The original purchase agreement called for the sale to close by July 15 — with an extension until Aug. 15. The NBA has said it will resume termination proceedings of the sale if it’s not closed by Sept. 15, a few weeks before the start of training camp.