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May 27, 2017

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Silver denies Sterling's extension bid, expresses confidence in sale of Clippers

LOS ANGELES -- Commissioner Adam Silver said the NBA would not grant Donald Sterling an extension and added he is confident they will be able to force the Los Angeles Clippers owner to sell the team.

Speaking Tuesday at his first news conference since banning Sterling for life from the NBA over racist comments, Silver said he has the full support of the other owners.

"We know we're doing the right thing, and I know I have the owners behind me," Silver said.

"In terms of additional time, the answer has been no."

On Monday, the NBA released a summary of the charges they plan to use to force the embattled Sterling and his wife, Shelly, to part with the club they have owned since 1981.

Silver set a hearing on the matter for June 3 where both parties will be able to provide evidence to support their cases. He has given Sterling until May 27 to respond to the charges which includes damaging the league by making racist comments against African-Americans.

Sterling had asked for a three-month delay in the hearing.

"The proceedings and the process is set out in our constitution, something they signed on for when they became owners in the league," Silver said Tuesday.

The Sterling controversy began last month when the American gossip website TMZ released an audio clip of Sterling telling his girlfriend, V. Stiviano, that she should not bring black people to Clipper games.

In the weeks that followed, the NBA banned Sterling from the league and fined him US$2.5 million. The league then appointed interim chief executive Dick Parsons to run the Clippers.

Silver said that he would urge fellow owners to force Sterling, who says he won't pay the US$2.5 million fine, to sell the team.

Meanwhile, the league also alleges Sterling tried to cover up the scandal, the Los Angeles Times reported on Tuesday night.

The NBA has charged Sterling with six counts, including destroying evidence and giving "false and misleading evidence" to the NBA's chief investigator, the newspaper reported.

"The billionaire owner wanted her to tell the league investigators that the voice on the recording was not his and that she altered the recording," the Times reported.

The newspaper also reported the league would argue that Shelly Sterling and Clippers president Andy Roeser were part of the coverup as well. The Times story went on to suggest that Shelly Sterling is not estranged from her husband as she has said in recent weeks.

The newspaper said Sterling declined to comment.

The Clippers' controversial season ended Thursday when the Oklahoma City Thunder beat them 104-98 to win their playoff series four games to two.

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