As Donald Sterling attempts to set back the sale of the Clippers, the NBA has been reduced to a silent bystander, commissioner Adam Silver said at halftime of Game 3 at the NBA Finals.
Sterling recently released a statement titled: "WHY I AM FIGHTING THE NBA? THE NBA WANTS TO TAKE AWAY OUR PRIVACY RIGHTS AND FREEDOM OF SPEECH."
Silver, who spoke to ESPN's Sage Steele, said the focus should no longer be on the NBA. Shelly Sterling took steps to indemnify the NBA from Donald Sterling's lawsuit and agreed to sell the team to former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer.
"The next step for the league is to, frankly, stand back and allow this dispute between Donald and Shelly Sterling to play itself out," Silver said. "This is really now a dispute between the Sterlings. We're on the sidelines."
Donald Sterling agreed to sign the deal and drop the suit last week, assuming "all (the sides') differences had been resolved," his attorneys said. But individuals close to the negotiations who weren't authorized to speak publicly said he decided to not sign the papers after learning the NBA won't revoke its lifetime ban and $2.5 million fine.
Donald Sterling said the NBA's penalty was an attempt to strip him of his privacy rights, a reference to the fact that his racist remarks were made in the privacy of his home and later obtained by TMZ.com.
"I have no idea what he's talking about," Silver said. "And the focus obviously shouldn't be on me or the NBA. This is about Donald Sterling and his conduct. And if he wants to litigate he'll litigate."