By Ronald Grover
(Reuters) – Bank of America, hired over the weekend to sell the Los Angeles Clippers, has begun contacting potential buyers for the National Basketball Association (NBA) franchise, according to two people with knowledge of the contacts.
Clippers owner Donald Sterling, banned from the NBA for racist remarks, handed controlling interest in his team to his wife, Shelly Sterling, the co-owner, and she has begun negotiating with the league to sell the club, Reuters reported on Friday, citing sources.
John Yiannacopoulos, a spokesman for Bank of America, did not return a phone call and email.
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The NBA has scheduled a hearing for June 3, when Donald Sterling can address the charges to his fellow owners. The league could vote to terminate his ownership of the franchise, which would take a vote by 23 of the other 29 owners, the NBA said in a May 19 press release.
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said last week he would prefer to let the Sterlings sell the team “on a reasonable timetable” rather than proceed with trying to forcibly terminate their ownership.
The family is said to want at least $1 billion for the team. At least six bidders have contacted Shelley Sterling about buying the team, according to ESPN.
Donald Sterling, controlling owner of the Clippers for 33 years, came under fire when TMZ.com posted an audio recording of him berating a female friend for publicly associating with black people, including NBA great Earvin “Magic” Johnson.
Bloomberg earlier reported news of Bank of America’s hiring.
(Reporting by Ronald Grover; editing by Julian Linden)