NBA Sees Through Shelly Sterling Ploy
The chess match continues.
The NBA saw right through the Donald and Shelly Sterling gambit that was -- to mix metaphors -- a wolf in an olive branch's clothing.
Commissioner Adam Silver rejected any thought of the billionaire bigot's wife stepping forward to take control of the team for the purpose of selling it and allegedly avoiding a costly, drawn-out legal battle. Quite accurately, he and his legal team saw that accepting this offer would instead increase the chances of a costly, drawn-out legal battle.
Actually, the attorney to whom Donald Sterling reached out was none other than Maxwell Blecher, who defied the odds and beat the NFL when it tried to keep Al Davis from moving the Raiders to Los Angeles. It's likely Blecher is orchestrating moves such as attempting to put Shelly Sterling out there as a peacemaker for the purpose of framing the perspective for the looming court battle.
Blecher and the Sterlings surely knew the NBA would reject this proposal. There can be only one controlling owner per franchise, specifically so squabbles among a team's ownership group doesn't paralyze any action involving that team.
Most legal observers believe an anti-trust argument is Sterling's weakest strategy, but it's also Blecher's forté. Observers scoffed when he took on the NFL, only to be stunned when he walked away from court with a $28million judgment against the league as well as an order for it to keep out of the Raiders' business.
Blecher also represented Sterling and prevailed when the NBA tried to prevent the Clips' move from San Diego to Los Angeles.
Of course, at the heart of this or any other dispute among kajillionaires is the money.
Somehow, it's fitting that the thought of saving tax dosh for his heirs upon his demise is one of the few considerations Sterling would have toward anyone but himself. Of course, that would still be cheating the public at large, but as this tawdry episode indicates, that happens to be a forté of his.
And he's had considerable practice.