After Donald Sterling’s horribly racist remarks over the weekend, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver expelled Sterling from the league indefinitely and fined him $2.5 million dollars, the largest amount that he could fine Sterling according to the charter in the NBA’s private constitution. Silver also said he’s going to encourage the forcing of the sale to the team.
Potential owners have lined up left and right, but reports on Thursday suggest that Oracle founder Larry Ellison could emerge as the winner with an investor group including record mogul David Geffen and Oprah Winfrey.
Ellison isn’t a stranger to vying for an NBA team. He once tried to buy the Golden State Warriors but was beat out in that bid by an investor group led by Joe Lacob. Because of Ellison’s love of the game, he settled for naming rights to the arena that the Warriors play in, now the Oracle Arena.
Ellison is reportedly a basketball fanatic. On Thursday, Business Insider reported that he loves the game so much he has full basketball courts on two of his yachts. While that doesn’t seem to crazy, Ellison also employs crews that follow his yachts with speed boats to fish basketballs that go overboard out of the ocean.
While several other names have emerged as possible buyers of the Los Angeles Clippers, the trio of Geffen, Winfrey and Ellison would have the cash on hand to get the deal done close to market value.
The team hasn’t officially gone on sale yet. The other 29 owners can, by a majority, force Sterling to sell the team, but if it goes that far the team could be worth much less. In the meantime Sterling is not able to set foot on property leased by the NBA or to any NBA game, office or practice facility. He has appointed members of his organization to oversee the team in the interim, and while they continue to battle in the Western Conference round 1 NBA playoffs.