Timberwolves' Owner Leads Committee on Forced Sale of LA Clippers

Updated: 04/30/2014 1:15 PM KSTP.com By: Stephen Tellier

Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling, center, was banned for life Tuesday from the NBA.
Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling, center, was banned for life Tuesday from the NBA.
Photo: Photo: AP/ File

Banned for life. That's the decision handed down by the NBA on Tuesday against Los Angeles Clippers' owner Donald Sterling following a scandal over racist remarks caught on tape. Now, the Minnesota Timberwolves' owner will have a big say in whether Sterling will be stripped of his ownership as well.

Glen Taylor, the Timberwolves' owner, says he supports everything NBA Commissioner Adam Silver has said about the incident and the actions he is taking. But there is one thing the commissioner can't do without the support of Taylor and the other owners: Sell the Clippers franchise to another buyer against Sterling's will.

"The views expressed by Mr. Sterling are deeply offensive and harmful. That they came from an NBA owner only heightens the damage and my personal outrage," Silver said.

On Tuesday, Silver announced a lifetime ban and a $2.5 million fine against Sterling. It turns out, Taylor was intimately involved in prescribing that punishment.

"I was involved in the discussion into coming to that conclusion, and I agree with it," Taylor said.

As one of the longest-serving owners in the NBA, Taylor is the leader of a key committee tasked with handling the forced sale of Sterling's team, which is something the commissioner can't do on his own.

"I agree that this would be in the best interest of the Clippers organization and the NBA organization if we can find a new ownership structure out there, and I think that's one part of the healing process," Taylor said. "We know that there's a possibility there could be legal challenges to this process, so we have to be cautious in making sure we take one step at a time, but we're going to move on it quickly."

Taylor also said he's confident the scandal will not do long-term damage to the NBA.

"It's a one-person event, but it's hurtful to a large group of people," Taylor said.

While there's no timeline on how soon the Clippers could be sold, Taylor already says he will vote "yes" on the forced sale of the team. Twenty-three of the league's 30 owners would have to vote yes to approve it. Taylor said he's confident that will happen.

Silver also revealed the league hired an outside investigator to look into the leaked audio tapes. The investigation was completed on Monday night. Silver said Sterling admitted it was his voice making the racist remarks.