Shelly Sterling has no plans to give up her stake of the Los Angeles Clippers, thank you very much. Donald Sterling's estranged wife informed ESPN in a statement on Thursday that she has hired a lawyer to fight to retain control of her portion of the Clippers through whatever legal mess is forthcoming between the league and her husband.
"Commissioner Silver made it clear, that when he announced sanctions against Donald, that the NBA was taking no action against me or my family," Sterling's statement reads. Her attorney, Pierce O'Donnell, said she has every intention of complicating this already messy situation in order to keep her share. "She will not agree to a forced or involuntary seizure of her interest," O'Donnell said.
How the NBA will proceed legally is where things get interesting. The NBA explicitly banned Donald Sterling from all NBA related activities, including associating with the league of the Clippers, but not Shelly or any other member of the Sterling family. The Board of Governors will soon vote to force a sale of the Clippers, but the team is technically owned by the Sterling Family Trust, of which Shelly is entitled to half. As The Wire explained yesterday, the league could potentially argue that Sterling's actions were enough to remove the trust completely from team ownership but Shelly Sterling could also go to court to attempt to gain full control of her share, on the grounds that Donald's actions have ruined their sale value. In short, there are many players on the court, many, many legal questions left to be answered before this is over.