The NBA’s investigation into l’Affaire Sterling has concluded, and a ruling will be announced Tuesday afternoon. Leslie Alexander, the Houston Rockets owner, calls for Commissioner Adam Silver to drive Donald Sterling out of the League. Per the Houston Chronicle:
Calling the comments “disgusting,” Alexander said he told Silver he should stab “a sword” into the heart of Sterling’s ownership of the Clippers.
“I thought that there’s got to be a way to disrupt him from owning the team,” said Alexander, who after 20 years owning the Rockets is one of the longest tenured owners in the NBA. “I gave him the sword to deal with this. I said, ‘Let the players become free agents.’”
Alexander said the goal of his suggestion was not to break up the Clippers, considered among the league’s top teams, or even to punish Sterling. He said the objective was solely to back Sterling into a corner from which he will choose to sell the Clippers.
The NBA constitution does not allow the league owners to remove Sterling, Alexander said. But he added that the NBA needed to take steps to drive Sterling from the league.
“This kind of behavior can’t be allowed in the NBA by owners, players or anybody,” Alexander said. “This guy has no place in the family of the NBA. Whatever it takes, we have to make sure this kind of event never happens again.”
“I mentioned that to Adam,” Alexander said. “I told Adam I don’t think he can be removed because the constitution (of the NBA) only allows him to be removed except for gambling. I’m not sure that legally can be done. But if he loses his players, nobody is going to want to go there. He’ll only be able to get a player that is worth $2 million and will play for $12 (million.) And who is going to want to coach there?
“If you’re a player in the NBA you don’t want to play for somebody like that. If you worked for a company, you would walk away and say, ‘I’m gone.” I think the players should have that right.”
“He listened to it,” Alexander said. “He said he hadn’t heard that before. He said to me, ‘You always give me a novel idea that I haven’t heard before.’ He told me he would look at it and see what the professionals around him think.”
“I’m really upset that some of the press has lumped us together as one,” Alexander said. “We are 30 different individuals and most of us are not even friends. We are business associates. To lump us together is beyond the pale.”
Still, as “disgusting” as Alexander said Sterling’s comments were, there was something missing from his reaction that revealed much of what he thought of Sterling.
“I wasn’t,” Alexander said, “really surprised.”