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Report: Bidders lining up to buy Clippers

Alan Draper profile picture
Sports Editor
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At least six bidders have contacted the wife of Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling about buying the team, according to ESPN.

Shelly Sterling agreed to take over the sale of the team after the NBA banned her husband for life and fined him $2.5 million on April 29 for making racist remarks.

Attorneys for the Sterlings — Pierce O’Donnell, Bob Baradaran, Darren Schield and Doug Watson — are handling the sale of the team.

Shelly Sterling was scheduled to meet with former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer on Sunday, according to a multiple reports.

Ballmer, who was part of the effort to bring a team to Seattle last year, recently told the Wall Street Journal that he is interested in buying a team, possibly the Clippers.

“If the opportunity is outside of Seattle, so be it,” he said. “I will learn about any team that comes up for sale at this point. If I get interested in the Clippers, it would be for Los Angeles. I don’t work anymore, so I have more geographic flexibility than I did a year, year-and-a half ago. Moving them anywhere else would be value-destructive.”

Shelly Sterling is not considering selling the team to anyone who intends to move it out of Los Angeles.

Ballmer was photographed sitting with NBA commissioner Adam Silver at the Clippers-Oklahoma City Thunder game on May 11.

The NBA has not announced if it will allow Shelly Sterling to have control over the team’s sale. It plans to terminate Sterling’s ownership during a June 3 hearing. The Sterlings must sell 100 percent interest of the team.

Significant tax obligations that come with the sale are an issue concerning Shelly Sterling. The IRS would charge the Sterlings a federal long-term capital-gains tax of 20 percent and a California tax of 13.3 percent. The tax would be incurred on the difference between the amount the Sterlings paid for the team and for how much they sell it. The Sterlings paid $13.5 million in 1981 and could sell it for more than $1 billion. If the team sells for $1 billion, the tax charged to the Sterlings would be $328.5 million.

Another known potential ownership group includes former NBA All-Star Grant Hill and billionaire investors and longtime Southern California residents Tony Ressler and Bruce Karsh. reported that the NBA considers Hill’s group a viable contender to buy the team.

Alan is an expert gambling writer who works as one of the chief editors for Basketball Insiders. He has been covering online gambling and sports betting for over 8 years, having written for the likes of Sportlens,, The Sports Daily, 90min, and His particular specialisms include US online casinos and gambling regulations, and soccer and basketball betting. Based in London, Alan holds an MA in English Literature and is a passionate supporter of Chelsea FC.

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