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Owners’ NBA advisory/finance committee takes first step to oust Donald Sterling

At some point pretty much everyone around the league expects Donald Sterling to start fighting back — likely in the courts, likely with a mountain of paperwork. Because that’s who he is.

But for now the owners are moving forward on Adam Silver’s edict to oust Donald Sterling as owner of the Clippers. Thursday evening the NBA released this statement:

“This afternoon the Advisory/Finance Committee met via conference call to discuss the process for termination of Donald T. Sterling’s ownership of the Los Angeles Clippers. The Committee unanimously agreed to move forward as expeditiously as possible and will reconvene next week.”

That committee is chaired by Minnesota owner Glen Taylor and it’s other members are Miami’s Micky Arison, the Lakers’ Jeanie Buss, Oklahoma City’s Clay Bennett, New York’s James Dolan, Boston’s Wyc Grousbeck, San Antonio’s Peter Holt, Phoenix’s Robert Sarver, Indiana’s Herb Simon, and Toronto’s Larry Tanenbaum.

As part of the process the NBA would have to present Sterling with charges, he would have several days to respond, then there would be a vote within 10 days of that time. It is outlined in Chapter 13 of the NBA’s constitution, although most of what is in there outlines specific offenses (gambling on the team, not meeting financial obligations). There is an area that covers “ethical conduct” in business transactions and dealing with sponsors — the NBA can point to the sponsors leaving and the impact of Sterling’s words and actions on business and use that to oust him.

It would take a three-quarter’s vote of the owners, or 23 of the other 29. All 29 other owners have already come out in support of Silver’s actions (which included a lifetime ban for Sterling and a $2.5 million fine) and with the public watching this none would dare vote against it for fear of backlash.

Sterling, however, is expected to put up one heck of a fight. That day is still coming.

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