Monday, June 9, 2014

NBA commissioner : Donald Sterling saga not over yet



(CNN) -- Nearly two weeks after former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer offered the winning bid to buy the Los Angeles Clippers from embattled owner Donald Sterling, the man who hastened Sterling's departure isn't ready to call it a done deal.

"When it's done, then we can take a deep breath," NBA commissioner Adam Silver told CNN's Rachel Nichols in an exclusive interview Sunday.

Until then, Silver notes, Sterling still hasn't withdrawn a billion-dollar lawsuit against the NBA.
He's also wary of the litigious Sterling, whom he says he's known for decades.

"He's unsold his club several times over the years," Silver said. "There's well-noted incidents in the league when he was right there at a closing and at the last minute decided not to sell. And until he signs that document, we still have a pending litigation with him."

In his first extended interview since recorded racist remarks made by Sterling were leaked online, Silver gave Nichols a behind-the-scenes glimpse into the scandal that thrust the rookie commissioner into the spotlight just months into the job. The racist remarks sparked a media firestorm and prompted players to threaten to boycott in the midst of the playoffs if action wasn't taken.

"You deal with the cards as they're dealt," Silver told Nichols. "And we dealt with it."  

Silver, who hasn't even moved into predecessor David Stern's office yet, banned Sterling from the league for life just days after the recordings were leaked, fined him $2.5 million and pushed through a charge to terminate all of his ownership rights in the franchise. 

Silver earned near-universal praise for the swift and decisive action he took, even if the fledgling boss didn't quite grasp the magnitude of what he was doing at the time