NBA players, owners, fans and now the league have made their voices heard on the issue of Donald Sterling and the racist comments he made to a supposed girlfriend.
And now Sterling's fate as owner of the Los Angeles Clippers will come down to a vote by the league's 29 other owners. While there's a chance the owners don't get the 75 percent needed to remove Sterling, many analysts think the vote will be near unanimous.
So, assuming that Sterling is forced to sell the team that he bought for $12 million in 1981, the $64,000 (er, $1 billion) question is, how much will the franchise go for?
For reference, the Milwaukee Bucks recently sold for an NBA record $550 million and the Sacramento Kings went for $534 million. But both of those are small market teams without a player in the 2014 NBA All-Star Game. The Clippers are in the nation's second-largest market and have two superstars in Chris Paul and Blake Griffin.
While Forbes values the Clippers at $575 million, early estimates predict a sale of no less than $1 billion.
If Donald Sterling is forced to sell the Clippers, team will go for no less than $1 billion. Bought for $12M in 1981.
— darren rovell (@darrenrovell) April 29, 2014
Making the Clippers more valuable for a potential owner is the fact that their TV deal with Fox Sports is up after the 2015-2016 season.The group which bought the Los Angeles Dodgers secured an $8.35-billion television contract for the team, and while the Clippers may not make that much, Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times notes that the franchise could play several suitors against each other for a hefty payday.
"Fox needs the Clippers to maintain the viability of Fox Sports West and Prime Ticket, fighting to keep both channels alive after losing the Lakers and Dodgers. TWC SportsNet, the Lakers' channel, already was considering a significant bid for the Clippers. And, for the new SportsNet LA, owned by the Dodgers, the promise of a second team might sway the cable and satellite providers so far reluctant to carry the channel."
Assuming Sterling is forced to sell the Clippers, the franchise's value will not only be reflective of the team's rise from the NBA basement but it will also be indicative of how far the NBA has come since Sterling purchased the team some 33 years ago.