Donald Sterling was nowhere to be found on the sixth day of his own trial. That didn’t stop him from filing a new lawsuit against estranged wife Shelly Sterling and the NBA that could delay proceedings awhile.
Donald Sterling filed a lawsuit in Superior court Tuesday vs Shelly & NBA alleging corporate fraud
— Ramona Shelburne (@ramonashelburne) July 23, 2014
Donald’s lawyer: “Could you get to trial in 6-8 months? Possible but you’re looking at a year or so before you have a trial on that issue.”
— Arash Markazi (@ArashMarkazi) July 23, 2014
Meanwhile, in actual court proceedings, Los Angeles Clippers interim CEO Dick Parsons dropped a bomb in court about Doc Rivers and potentially the entire franchise. In the wake of reports that owner-to-be Steve Ballmer will renege on the $2 billion sale if Sterling isn’t removed by August 15, Parsons testified that Rivers would follow Ballmer out the door.
ESPN’s Arash Markazi believes this isn’t exactly new, nor does he believe it’s news.
Doc told Parsons he doesn’t THINK he wants to continue IF Sterling remains owner. He has basically said as much before. — Arash Markazi (@ArashMarkazi) July 22, 2014
I don’t see anyway Sterling is the owner when the seasons starts. Either Shelly wins this case (likely) or NBA seizes team and sells it. — Arash Markazi (@ArashMarkazi) July 22, 2014
If this trial was a boxing match I’m giving every round to Shelly’s side and we’re in the 9th round. — Arash Markazi (@ArashMarkazi) July 22, 2014
If Markazi is right, then the Shelly Sterling/Steve Ballmer/NBA holy trinity has done a great PR spin job of backing Donald Sterling further into his corner. Though Judge Michael Levanas won’t count Parsons’ testimony on Rivers as fact, suggesting there won’t be a Clippers team if Sterling doesn’t throw in the towel is a powerful statement.
Parsons: “If none of your sponsors want to sponsor you, your coach doesn’t want to coach, players don’t want to play, what do you have?” — Ramona Shelburne (@ramonashelburne) July 22, 2014
Indeed, among the topics addressed in his testimony, the theme consistently centered around the potential impact of Donald Sterling remaining the Clippers’ owner versus losing the team. Parsons, appointed CEO by the NBA in early May, asserted that a Rivers departure would open the floodgates for the rest of the team.
Parsons couldn’t get into specifics of conversion he had with Chris Paul but if Sterling is the owner, concern is players will seek an exit. — Arash Markazi (@ArashMarkazi) July 22, 2014
Sterling’s presence, according to Parsons, would see sponsors including Kia and Mandalay Bay end their partnerships with the Clippers.
Parsons – “we have a bunch of sponsors sitting at the edge of the pool but they don’t want to get in the water.” — Kim Baldonado (@KimNBCLA) July 22, 2014
This comes on the heels of a short session on Monday morning followed by a bizarre rendezvous. After an 11-day recess, Shelly Sterling’s lawyers argued revoking the trust and balking on the sale will trigger a default on nearly $500 million in loans.
The Sterlings will have to find $500 million in order to pay off those loans. Meaning selling off property in order to make that happen. — Arash Markazi (@ArashMarkazi) July 21, 2014
The Sterling Trust CFO shot that theory down, claiming there are other refinancing options than the Clippers sale. Absent in court, Donald Sterling reportedly met with Ballmer afterwards, though nothing was resolved.
Donald Sterling met today with Steve Ballmer and Shelly Sterling, sources told ESPN
— Ramona Shelburne (@ramonashelburne) July 21, 2014
Shelly Sterling will take the stand Wednesday.
Check back tomorrow for an update on what Donald Sterling’s new lawsuit means for the Clippers sale.