NBA commissioner Adam Silver ruled swiftly and decisively on the future of Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling Tuesday, handing the 80-year-old a lifetime ban and a $2.5 million fine for racist comments that surfaced last weekend.
Sterling is barred from attending Clippers games and practices and having any presence at NBA Board of Governors meetings or Clippers functions.
The league’s new boss will also recommend the Board of Governors to force a sale of the team — a move that would require 75 percent of the league’s owners to approve.
Count Phoenix Suns managing general partner Robert Sarver in that 75 percent.
“Yeah, definitely,” Sarver replied when asked on Burns and Gambo on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM Tuesday if he’s in favor of removing Sterling from the NBA ownership fraternity. He thinks others feel like he does.
“I only talked to one owner over the weekend about it, but when you look at the whole situation and look at our business and what we’re really all about, this is a subject that should pretty much have total alignment — not only among owners themselves, but owners and players.”
Reports are circulating that Sterling, the league’s tenured owner, will not willingly sell the team. Sarver believes the board can still act swiftly to remove Sterling from the team, citing the rules in the NBA constitution.
“They were put together so that the league could deal with individual owners swiftly,” Sarver said. “I don’t know all the intricacies and exactly what his rights are, but I know that 75 percent of the owners can elect to take his franchise away from him.”
The Suns’ owner hopes that Sterling will opt to just fade off into the sunset.
“I hope he’d just come out and say ‘I’m sorry, guys. I let my partners down, I let the league down, I let the world down. I’ll put this thing up for sale and we’ll find a new owner.'”