In a day of fast-moving and possibly decisive moves in the saga of the Clippers, the NBA said it considers the team sold to former Microsoft Steve Ballmer. He met for a lunch with Mayor Eric Garcetti staged for photographers, did an interview with the Times, and tonight is at Staples Center for the Kings game. Ballmer was televised during the game sharing laughs with Clippers star Chris Paul.
Donald Sterling sued the NBA and others today in federal court, alleging his constitutional rights were violated when the league acted against him based on an illegal (by his assertion) audio recording. His lawyer also said it's absurd to say that Sterling is mentally incapacitated, as his wife apparently contends.
But the pro-sale side of the contest moved to consolidate the public belief that the Clippers have been sold to Ballmer. He told the LA Times he's embracing Los Angeles as a second home, will not try to move the Clippers to Seattle, and has no qualms about paying $2 billion for a basketball team that is still waiting for its first NBA playoff success.
Tonight, Garcetti issued a statement doing his part:
"I know all L.A. fans will join me in putting the past behind us and looking forward to a new and winning era for the Clippers. I congratulate Steve Ballmer and look forward to working with him and the Clippers to make a positive impact on our city."