Former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer has signed a binding agreement to buy the Los Angeles Clippers for $2 billion from the Sterling family trust, a source familiar with the situation told CNN on Thursday night.
A second source, who was familiar with the negotiations, confirmed the terms to CNN.
The sale, negotiated by Shelly Sterling - co-owner with estranged husband Donald Sterling - will have to be approved at a NBA Board of Governors meeting. It was unclear whether a meeting set for Tuesday will go on, given Thursday's developments.
And the sale still may have to be approved by Donald Sterling, according to earlier comments by his attorney.
Maxwell Blecher told CNN earlier that his client would have to consent to a sale and wants to be vindicated by the NBA, which is in the process of terminating the Sterlings' ownership in the team for racist remarks Sterling made in an audio recording released online in April.
The NBA has damaged Sterling's reputation, Blecher claimed in a lengthy interview with CNN's "The Situation Room."
"They know he is not a racist," he said.
Blecher said Sterling is troubled by the charges of racism. He thinks of himself as an exemplary owner with a 33-year history of supporting the African-American community, Blecher said.
"He wants to be vindicated. He doesn't want his tombstone to say, 'Here lies Donald Sterling, racist.' And the NBA has the power to make that right," Blecher said, without saying what Sterling wants the league to do.
CNN reached out to Blecher for comment on news of the sale, but didn't immediately hear back.
Blecher said earlier that Sterling had no interest in selling the team, rather than passing it down to his heirs. When reminded that Sterling would make a huge profit on a sale, even after capital gains taxes, Blecher it should have been the billionaire businessman's decision when to part with the team. It's not about money, he said.
In April, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver banned Sterling, fined him $2.5 million and prompted the league's other 29 owners to begin proceeding to strip the longtime owner and his wife of the team.
Sterling is considering suing the NBA if he doesn't get the resolution he wants. Blecher said they weren't in a rush to file the lawsuit and were waiting in part in deference to Shelly Sterling as she negotiated the sale.
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Magic Johnson has some advice for Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling: Sell the team, take the money and enjoy the rest of your life.
A day after Sterling appeared on CNN slamming the NBA legend's character, his battle with HIV and his community outreach efforts, Johnson said Tuesday that he feels sorry for the 80-year-old billionaire.
"It's sad. It really is. I'm going to pray for this ... man," Johnson told CNN's Anderson Cooper in an exclusive interview.
Sterling's explosive CNN interview that aired Monday night was the first time he had spoken publicly since audio recordings surfaced last month of him making racist remarks. Reaction to the taped remarks came fast and furious, and the NBA responded with a lifetime ban for Sterling.
Johnson became an involuntary figure in the controversy after Sterling named him in the leaked recording.
"Admire him, bring him here, feed him, f**k him, but don't put (Magic) on an Instagram for the world to have to see so they have to call me," Sterling is heard telling friend V. Stiviano.
Johnson told Cooper he is still waiting for an apology from Sterling for getting roped into Sterling's fight with Stiviano, and Johnson called the Monday interview - in which Sterling directed another tirade at the NBA legend - "disturbing."
"What's really sad is, it's not about me," Johnson said. "This is about the woman you love outing you and taping you and putting your conversation out here for everybody to know. ... This is between you two, but then he wants to include me."
Johnson said he had only met with Sterling three or four times, and most of those discussions had focused on basketball. Johnson couldn't say if the Clippers owner has slipped mentally.
Sterling "seems like he's all there," Johnson said. "But the problem is, he's living in the stone ages."
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