ESPN spoke with NBPA President and Los Angeles Clippers point guard Chris Paul who reasserted that if Donald Sterling is still in control of the team at the start of next season, he will consider sitting out the season, along with coach Doc Rivers and his Clippers teammates.
Los Angeles Clippers point guard Chris Paul told ESPN.com it's "unacceptable" if Donald Sterling is still the owner of the team when the season begins.
Paul also said he has spoken to coach Doc Rivers about the possibility of sitting out if Sterling remains in control when the seasons begins in a little more than two months.
"That's something me and Doc are both talking about," Paul said on Thursday after coaching his AAU program, CP3. "Something has to happen, and something needs to happen soon -- sooner rather than later."
Interim Clippers CEO Dick Parsons testified earlier in the week in state court that Rivers told him on multiple occasions that he doesn't think he wants to continue coaching the team if Sterling remains in control of the franchise.
"We're all going to talk about it," Paul added. "We're all definitely going to talk about it. Doc, Blake (Griffin), DJ (DeAndre Jordan). It's unacceptable."
The NBA faces two key benchmarks in Sterling's lawsuit against his wife to stop the sale of the team to Steve Ballmer. Closing arguments begin July 28, after that the judge will take however long he takes to issue a decision. The other key date is Aug. 15. On that day, the sale agreement between Ballmer and Sterling terminates, at which point the NBA has stated it plans to resume procedures to vote for termination of ownership, take control of the team, and then auction it off anyway.
So in order for this to come to the point where Paul sits out, which would likely cause a bigger protest that could impact multiple teams, Sterling has to either win the lawsuit or have the decision delayed until after Aug. 15, and then find some sort of legal approach that will prevent the NBA from terminating his ownership. That second part seems to be the harder element.
Sterling has filed two other suits aganst the NBA, including an antitrust claim. Both suits are expected to drag on well past a transfer of ownership and would only involve damages, according to SI.com.
It's going to take a lot for this to reach the point where Sterling is still in control of the team come training camp. The players are just making sure it's known they won't stand for Sterling to maintain ownership, despite his lifetime ban issued by Adam Silver. The problem, it seems comes when you consider that if it reaches that point, it won't be the result of a lack of effort by the league to remove the blight that Sterling has become, but legal obstacles they are unable to get around. And then you have an impossible situation for the league and the players.