But a source said that over the course of this week, Sterling has rethought his position and formally agreed to allow Shelly -- an alternate governor of the team -- to negotiate a sale.
NBA rules, however, prevent him from transferring a controlling interest in the team to anyone, even an alternate governor. A new controlling owner would need to be approved by the board of governors, and Shelly Sterling would not be approved.
Although Shelly Sterling's lawyers have made it clear to the league that she intends to maintain her 50 percent interest in the team, they have also said both publicly and privately that she would like to resolve the situation amicably.
The agreement between Donald Sterling and his wife was first reported by TMZ.
ESPN.com's Michael Wallace and Darren Rovell contributed to this report.