Cuban not in favor of booting Sterling

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DALLAS -- Mavericks owner Mark Cuban thinks the NBA would be a better league without Donald Sterling in it, but Cuban called the potential scenario of forcing the Los Angeles Clippers owner to sell the team in wake of the racist comments allegedly made by him "a slippery slope."

Cuban was one of several NBA owners to make strong comments about Sterling on Monday, a day before commissioner Adam Silver was scheduled to hold a news conference in New York to announce the league's investigation into the issue.

However, Cuban was the only one to express concern about the precedent that could be set by forcing Sterling to leave the league.

"I think there's a [league] constitution for a reason, right?" Cuban said before Game 4 of the Mavericks- San Antonio Spurs series. "Because this is a very slippery slope. What Donald said was wrong. It was abhorrent. There's no place for racism in the NBA, any business I'm associated with, and I don't want to be associated with people who have that position.

"But at the same time, that's a decision I make. I think you've got to be very, very careful when you start making blanket statements about what people say and think, as opposed to what they do. It's a very, very slippery slope.

"Again, there's no excuse for his positions. There's no excuse for what he said. There's no excuse for anybody to support racism. There's no place for it in our league, but there's a very, very, very slippery slope."

The expectation of one rival team, ESPN.com's Marc Stein reports, is that Silver will opt for a lifetime ban and hefty fine well over $1 million for Sterling and also announce that the league will help the Clippers with the sale of the team. He said the league will pursue voting Sterling out if the Clippers do not cooperate.

Houston Rockets owner Leslie Alexander presented an opposing view to Cuban's, telling the Houston Chronicle that he wanted Sterling forced out of the league.

Like Cuban, Alexander interpreted the NBA constitution as not affording the commissioner the power to remove an owner for any reason except gambling. However, Alexander said he suggested to Silver that all the Clippers players could be given the option to become free agents after this season, a step toward driving Sterling out of the league.

"This kind of behavior can't be allowed in the NBA by owners, players or anybody," Alexander told the newspaper. "This guy has no place in the family of the NBA. Whatever it takes, we have to make sure this kind of event never happens again."

Jeanie Buss, whose family owns Clippers buildingmate Los Angeles Lakers, also released a statement on Monday.

"The comments and sentiments expressed on the tape are reprehensible and disturbing, and certainly are the opposite of how the Lakers feel about the league's players and fans. I have full confidence that Adam Silver and the NBA will handle this situation appropriately."

Cleveland Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert issued perhaps the most strongly worded statement Monday.

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