Donald Sterling’s Divorce Means Uncertain Future for Clippers

You’ve all seen the trending topic of Donald Sterling’s comments made to his mistress and recorded by her.  His comments have landed him in some serious hot ham water. The NBA has levied some serious sanctions against him and are even trying to force him to sell the LA Clippers, the basketball team he has owned since the 80s.  To compound matter, Mr. Sterling’s wife of fifty years is now seeking to divorce him.  Apparently she has signed the divorce papers but has not filed them.

The Sterling divorce is going to make this story get even more interesting.  The LA Clippers is considered a marital asset of the Sterlings, which means it is subject to division in a divorce.  Since the Sterlings live in California the team is considered community property, which basically means each of them will get half of the teams.  What happens then if the NBA is successful in forcing Sterling to get rid of the team?  The divorce could put a stay on the divestment of the Clippers.

If Mrs. Sterling files her divorce papers, she can ask the court for orders relating to the control and management of the LA Clippers. The divorce court’s orders could preclude the NBA from forcing a sale of the Clippers, and even if it doesn’t, Mr. Sterling could bring anti-trust claims against the NBA that could preclude the sale.

A final divorce decree could award Mrs. Sterling and Mr. Sterling each half of the team.  If that happens the NBA would have a very difficult time forcing the sale of the entire team, since Mrs. Sterling has done nothing wrong.

Whatever could or may happen, there is no question that the Sterling fiasco just gets more and more interesting and is going to turn out to be one heavy legal battle.

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