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Judge rules in favor of Shelly Sterling on all counts

By Eye on Basketball staff

Offseason: Free Agency | Latest from Ken Berger | Rumors

Things went Shelly Sterling's way in probate court on Monday, clearing the way for the sale of the Los Angeles Clippers to Steve Ballmer. Judge Michael Levanas announced a tentative decision in favor of Shelly on all counts.

First was that she did act in accordance with the Sterling Family Trust when she negotiated the sale after Donald Sterling was found mentally incompetent and removed as a trustee.

The question of whether Sterling was legally found to be mentally incompetent is likely to be the biggest piece of the appeal that Sterling will eventually file. Sterling won't let this go, he'll keep dragging this out as long as he can. Unfortunately for him, and fortunately for the NBA and all its fans, that's not going to matter much because of this second part:

Levanas also ruled in favor of Shelly's request for a provision to be enacted that would allow the sale to proceed regardless of appeals from Donald Sterling.

If you're hoping this will soon be wrapped up and the sale will proceed, then this is huge news. It's not completely over just yet, however:

So yeah, they'll drag it out, but the big key here is that a court-authorized sale is going to be completed. That's going to make it nearly impossible for Sterling to regain control of the team. He'll be able to pursue damages, he'll keep trying to embarrass the league. But as far as actually getting the team back, that's not happening from every legal indication, and that's a huge relief for the NBA and the players, who had discussed boycotting the team had Sterling retained ownership.

The NBA released a brief statement following the decision.

The following statement has been issued by Mike Bass, Executive Vice President, Communications, regarding today's probate court ruling regarding the Sterling Family Trust:

“We are pleased that the court has affirmed Shelly Sterling's right to sell the Los Angeles Clippers to Steve Ballmer. We look forward to the transaction closing as soon as possible.”

A crushing blow for Donald Sterling, and a huge victory for the NBA, which can avoid the planned vote to terminate Sterling's ownership had the case extended past the sale's expiration date of Aug. 15 to be completed.

It's a good day for Shelly Sterling.
Monday was a good day for Shelly Sterling. (USATSI)

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