Donald Sterling won’t go down without a fight, according to an NBA executive who is close to the disgraced owner of the Clippers, and will sue the league if the other 29 owners vote to force him to sell.
The wheels are in motion to remove Sterling, a process that the executive said Wednesday night would lead to a lawsuit by the disgraced owner, possibly tying up the future of the team for years.
“He is not going to sell the team,” the executive said.

Members of the owners’ advisory and finance committee include Minnesota owner Glen Taylor, who chairs the committee, 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. The committee plans to hold a meeting by conference call Thursday to discuss the next steps in forcing Sterling to sell the team he has owned for 33 years. Seventy-five percent of the league’s 29 other teams would have to vote in favor of such a move.

The process for removing Sterling is detailed in its constitution and bylaws. Commissioner Adam Silver has three days to provide Sterling with the charges, Sterling has five days to respond and the Board of Governors then has to vote within 10 days of Sterling's response.

Sterling could seek an immediate injunction, then file suit raising breach of contract or antitrust claims.
Heat star LeBron James said Wednesday that the owners need to act swiftly on dealing with Sterling, saying: “Obviously, it’s not going to be night and day — you wake up tomorrow and the team is in someone else’s hands,” James told reporters after practice in Miami. “But we need to get the next step going.”

On Tuesday, Silver insisted that the revelation of Sterling’s bigoted words on an audiotape recorded by his girlfriend was “a painful moment for all members of the NBA family,” and less than 24 hours later, steps were being taken to remove Sterling from the NBA permanently.

As the Daily News reported Wednesday, if Sterling sues, he would likely base his case on language in the NBA constitution that deals with conduct that constitutes “willful acts,” a term that can be difficult to interpret and enforce. Generally those acts include criminal behavior, financial instability or gambling or fixing games.

“He’ll sue and it’ll take years to settle,” said the source close to Sterling.