Shelly Sterling to Sell LA Clippers to Ex-Microsoft CEO for Record Sum

According to several news reports, the estranged wife of Donald Sterling has reached a binding agreement to sell the team for $2 billion.

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Steve Ballmer, former CEO of Microsoft, sits on the panel at a technology town hall meeting at the National Summit June 17, 2009.

Bill Pugliano/Getty Images

According to Shelly Sterling, the Los Angeles Clippers will be sold to former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer for an NBA-record $2 billion.

"I am delighted that we are selling the team to Steve, who will be a terrific owner," Shelly Sterling said in a statement, ESPN reports. "We have worked for 33 years to build the Clippers into a premiere NBA franchise. I am confident that Steve will take the team to new levels of success."

An unnamed source with knowledge of the deal who spoke with the Associated Press said that Shelly Sterling and Ballmer reached a binding agreement on Thursday evening. Ballmer, according to AP, beat out bids by several suitors, most notably the "Guggenheim Partners and a group including former NBA All-Star Grant Hill."

The deal has yet to be presented to the NBA. However, it was unclear whether Shelly Sterling's estranged husband, Donald Sterling, whose racist comments got him a lifetime ban from the NBA, would go along with the sale.

According to CBS News, Donald Sterling had been ruled "mentally incapacitated," giving Shelly Sterling authorization to negotiate the deal.

But Donald Sterling's lawyers told reporters that he's still a 50-percent owner whose approval is needed on the deal, and that he won't give it, with attorney Bobby Samini telling AP: "Sterling is not selling the team. That's his position. He's not going to sell."

Samini told AP that "the conduct of the NBA" caused Donald Sterling to change his mind about selling the team. 

"They're telling me he should stand back and let them take his team because his opinion on that particular day was not good, was not popular?" Samini told the news site. "That his team should be stripped from him? It doesn't make sense. He's going to fight."

In any case, on Thursday, Magic Johnson—who was mentioned in Donald Sterling's rant about black people whom he didn't want to attend his games—posted on his Twitter account: "Steve Ballmer owning the Clippers is a big win for the City of LA and all the people who live in the City of Angels!"

AP's unnamed source also mentioned that terms of the proposed sale would include provisions to keep the team in Los Angeles and that the new owner would have to be someone Shelly Sterling could work with "if she decides to retain a small stake."

An attorney representing Shelly Sterling declined AP's request for comment Thursday.

Read more at ESPN, CBS and the Associated Press.

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