More appeals and litigation are likely in the tug of war between Shelly and Donald Sterling over the sale of the Los Angeles Clippers for two billion dollars to Microsoft billionaire Steve Ballmer, who would not move the team to Seattle or anywhere else. However, this ruling is significant for one very simple reason: It could have been different.
What This Means For The Clippers And The NBA
In the larger scheme of things, this ruling is huge primarily because the judge could have gone in the other direction. A ruling in favor of Donald Sterling instead of Shelly Sterling would have given the center of last spring’s controversy even more motivation and incentive to dig in his heels and prevent the sale of the Clippers with all of his energy and resources. Donald Sterling, had he been given a positive decision in the courts, would have felt that all of his recent actions had been vindicated and that he could play out this drama to the bitter end, with no intentions of ever giving up the fight. Now, though, with the judge ruling in favor of Shelly Sterling, this process might be delayed by counter-litigation from Donald Sterling, but those delays won’t mean that the process will be denied. Would courts be in a position to overturn this ruling on subsequent appeal or in other suits that might be brought to the court by Donald Sterling? It is theoretically possible that such a thing would happen, but since the NBA’s interests are so clearly tied into having Shelly Sterling sell the team to Ballmer, the courts would probably be very reluctant to reverse the process that was initiated on Monday. A new judge in a new courtroom would probably not want to stand in the way of this ruling that has just come down.
What does this then mean for the Clippers and the NBA? Donald Sterling will almost surely not be the owner of the team by the time the 2014-2015 season begins. He will probably be out of the picture, and that is going to give a huge boost to the NBA’s operations. The league will enjoy a public-relations bounce, and new commissioner Adam Silver is going to be that much more confident about his ability to lead the league.
For the Clippers, this means that Doc Rivers and his players are not going to leave. They had seriously considered doing so with Donald Sterling still in the picture. Now, they can expect to stick around and chase a championship.
How To Bet The News
This is undeniably huge. The Clippers didn’t just need Doc Rivers to stay, they needed to get this situation solved and they needed everyone in the organization to feel good about themselves. The chances of the Clippers contending for the Western Conference title just went up a good five to 10 percent as a result of this.
Consider their 12/1 odds to win a title as a reasonable flier – especially as we should probably expect some growth in their second season under Rivers. Also, don’t be surprised if this team is great against the spread in their first few home games as the crowd will be very vocal in their support and the players will be charged up as a result of this news.