Members of the NBA owners' 10-member advisory/finance committee agreed today to move forward with the process of forcing Donald Sterling to sell the Los Angeles Clippers.
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver announced Tuesday that Sterling was banned for life from the league for making racist remarks that were recorded and made public over the weekend on a pair of websites. Silver also fined Sterling $2.5 million.
Silver said he would take whatever steps were necessary to force Sterling to sell the team. The league's Board of Governors can force a sale, if three-quarters of the league's team owners vote in favor of such a move. Silver said Tuesday he was confident he would have enough support to force Sterling out.
According to the league, the committee unanimously agreed to move "as expeditiously as possible" on the issue. The committee will meet again next week.
It was unclear how soon the league's owners might vote on the issue. It was also unclear if Sterling would fight such a move.
In the meantime, rumors were already swirling about potential buyers of the franchise, which Sterling bought in 1981 for $12.5 million but is now valued at at least $575 million -- making it the league's 13th most valuable team, according to Forbes.
CBS News reported that Oprah Winfrey was interested in partnering with entertainment industry mogul David Geffen to buy the team, if it becomes available. Officials from Geffen's office told the Los Angeles Times that Geffen "would be interested in buying the franchise" if Sterling puts it up for sale.
Real estate developer Rick Caruso told The Times he would also be interested in leading or joining a group to buy the franchise. Magic Johnson's name has also surfaced, although he has downplayed the rumors.
Boxer Floyd Mayweather Jr. told The Times he would like to put together a group to make an offer and was "very, very interested in buying the Clippers."
Patrick Soon-Shiong, a billionaire doctor, biotech investor and longtime Los Angeles sports fan who previously bought Johnson's stake in the Lakers, is also believed to be interested in the Clippers, according to The Times.
--City News Service