A cadre of attorneys and a flurry of lawsuits could certainly slow down the NBAs plan to force Donald Sterling to sell the Los Angeles Clippers over his recent racist comments, but legal experts say the league would likely prevail in the end. And that goes for Sterlings wife, Shelly, who has said shed like to keep her stake in the team even if her husband is ousted. The NBAs constitution, which Donald Sterling signed as controlling owner of the Clippers, gives its board of governors broad latitude in league decisions including who owns the teams. NBA Commissioner Adam Silver is pushing for a swift vote against Sterling, which requires a minimum of three-fourths of the other 29 controlling owners to agree. Silver also has imposed a lifetime ban on Sterling and a $2.5 million fine. The ban does not apply to Shelly Sterling. SI.com and ESPN.com, citing unidentified sources, reported Thursday that Sterlings lawyer, antitrust litigator Maxwell Blecher, wrote a letter to Rick Buchanan, the NBAs executive vice-president and general counsel, threatening to sue the league and saying Sterling will not pay the $2.5 million fine. "Sterlings own signature will come back to haunt him," said Michael McCann, founding director of the Sports and Entertainment Law Institute at the University of New Hampshire. "You agree to certain basic understandings. Thats what makes a sports league different from other businesses." The key to the NBAs authority, attorneys say, is Article 13(d) of the leagues constitution. That section says that, whether Sterling intended to or not, an owner cannot "fail or refuse to fulfil" contractual obligations to the NBA "in such a way to affect the Association or its members adversely." Theres plenty of evidence Sterlings comments, revealed in a recorded conversation with a female companion, affected the league adversely. They provoked threats of a player boycott, led sponsors to withdraw support and created a racially charged image problem in the midst of the NBA playoffs that even President Barack Obama remarked upon. If Article 13(d) was violated, the legal experts say the board of governors has solid grounds to force Sterling to sell the team along with any other owners, in this case his wife. As long as the NBA meticulously follows its own constitution and rules regarding the Clippers sale, it will be difficult for Sterling to find a legal theory that would stand up in court, said Daniel Lazaroff, director of the Sports Law Institute at Loyola Law School in Los Angeles. "This is not an antitrust issue. This is not a First Amendment issue," Lazaroff said. "Its a question limited to the interpretation of the NBA constitution and bylaws, and whether those terms are met." Another question involves California family law. Its a community property state, meaning spouses jointly own property they acquired while married. The Sterlings were already married when he bought the Clippers in 1981. Although a potential divorce could complicate the Clippers sale, McCann said the couples joint ownership actually works to the NBAs favour because — legally speaking — they are a single entity. So if the NBA forced Donald Sterling to sell, even under a divorce scenario, Shelly Sterling would have to sell, too. They have been married since 1955. "The NBA is well positioned to ultimately prevail," McCann said. For his part, Donald Sterling has repeatedly said he does not want to sell the Clippers. In his recent interview with CNNs Anderson Cooper, he cast doubt on going to court if the NBA governors ultimately do vote to force him out. "People want me to hire a wall of lawyers and them to have to hire a wall of lawyers and go to war," Sterling said on CNN. "I dont think thats the answer." Sterlings longtime attorney, Robert Platt, declined to comment when contacted Wednesday. Shelly Sterlings attorney, Pierce ODonnell, did not respond to email requests for comment from The Associated Press. But he has previously said she wants to remain a passive owner of the Clippers even if her husband is no longer involved. For now, the NBA has installed former Time Warner and Citigroup chairman Dick Parsons to oversee the teams business operations. Parsons said this week that a prolonged legal battle "is in no ones interest." "I would hope we could avoid that," he said. If he is forced out, Sterling still stands to reap a huge financial windfall in a Clippers sale. He bought the team for $12.5 million in 1981, and Forbes magazine recently placed its 2014 value at $575 million, or No. 13 in the NBA. Of course, there would also be a sizable capital gains tax bill for that. _____ Follow Curt Anderson on Twitter: http://twitter.com/Miamicurt Dante Exum Jazz Jersey
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. Watch the action live on TSN and listen on TSN 1050 Radio beginning at 7pm et/4pm pt. The Raptors maintained their spot atop the Atlantic Friday after defeating the Wizards, 96-88, for their second win in a row.ARLINGTON, Texas -- Nick Foles and Philadelphias high-scoring offence needed a little help from the defence to make sure it was the same old sad ending for the Dallas Cowboys. Foles threw two touchdown passes, one to NFL rushing champion LeSean McCoy, and Brandon Boykin had a game-sealing interception to help the Eagles beat the Cowboys 24-22 in a win-or-go-home game for the NFC East title Sunday night. The Cowboys lost to a division rival with a playoff berth on the line for the third straight year, and nobody can blame Tony Romo for this crushing loss. Kyle Orton, filling in two days after Romo underwent back surgery, had Dallas about 40 yards from field goal range with 1:49 remaining. But he threw behind Miles Austin on the first play, and into the arms of Boykin. "We kept fighting. We believed in each other," said Foles, who was 17 of 26 for 263 yards after throwing for only 80 in a 17-3 loss to Dallas at home. "When the offence was struggling, the defence picked us up." The Eagles (10-6) will host New Orleans in a wild-card game Saturday night, while the Cowboys (8-8) have now dropped a finale to each division rival the past three seasons and have missed the playoffs four straight years. Dallas is 136-136 since the start of the 1997 season. "Its unthinkable, really, to me to be sitting here three years in a row and this game ends up putting us at .500 and this game eliminates us from going to the playoffs," Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said. McCoy, who had a 3-yard scoring catch, rushed for 131 yards to finish with 1,607 yards and become the first Philadelphia running back to win the rushing title since Hall of Famer Steve Van Buren in 1949. "With the stats and the records, none of that stuff means anything, if you dont win in the end," McCoy said. "Thats the most important thing." The Eagles won the division for the first time since 2010 a year after going 4-12, which led to Andy Reids departure and the hiring of Chip Kelly and his fast-paced offence from Oregon. Dallas trailed 24-16 when Orton threw a 32-yard touchdown pass to Dez Bryant. Orton went back to Bryant for the 2-point conversion, but Cary Williams dove to punch the ball away. But the Eagles, with the second-ranked offence in the NFL, couldnt run out the clock against the leagues worst defence. Foles even tried to throw on third down, but had to slide shoort of the first down when nobody was open.dddddddddddd Boykin took care of things from there. "It definitely wasnt our best, but some guys came up with some huge plays when we needed them to," said Connor Barwin, who knocked down a fourth-down pass earlier in the fourth quarter. Romo was the quarterback for losses the past two seasons to the New York Giants and Washington -- and against the Eagles in the same scenario in 2008. The Cowboys were down 10-0 early in the second quarter and never led, but still found a way to make it interesting without Romo and defensive leader Sean Lee, who was out with a sprained neck. Regardless, Dallas is only the third team in NFL history to finish with three straight 8-8 records, according to STATS. And those are in Jason Garretts three full seasons as coach. "You feel a tremendous sense of pride about how the team played, how they fought, how they scratched, how they clawed, how they battled," Garrett said. "But having said that, we didnt get the job done." Orton, who was 30 of 46 for 358 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions in his first start in two years, was the first Dallas starter not named Romo in an elimination game since a playoff loss to Carolina with Quincy Carter under centre during the 2003 season. The Cowboys werent shy about throwing without Romo. Trailing by one, Dallas tried to pass on fourth-and-1 from the Philadelphia 40 early in the fourth quarter, and Barwin knocked down Ortons throw to DeMarco Murray, who was open in the flat. That decision came after Garrett called a timeout moments before the Eagles would have been called for a false start on fourth down from the Dallas 1. The defence bailed him out by stuffing Foles on a sneak. After the Cowboys failed fourth-down try, Foles led a steady march to Bryce Browns 6-yard run for an eight-point lead with 6:09 remaining. Notes: Cowboys K Dan Bailey had three field goals and made his last 21 of the season. He was 28 of 30. ... McCoy had 134 yards from scrimmage and finished with 2,146 to break Brian Westbrooks team record of 2,104 from 2007. ... Murray had 51 yards rushing and finished with 1,124, the most for Dallas since Emmitt Smith had 1,203 in 2000. ... 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