Shelly Sterling and her lawyers are seeking an emergency order from a California probate court Wednesday morning for an expedited hearing to resolve the situation with her estranged husband, Donald Sterling.
Shelly Sterling sold the Los Angeles Clippers to former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer on May 29, without Donald Sterling's consent, after two neurologists found that he was "mentally incapacitated" and unfit to conduct his legal and business affairs.
While the guidelines of the Sterling Family Trust, which owns the Clippers, did not require a court order to make such a designation, Shelly Sterling and her lawyers are seeking one after Donald Sterling said in strongly worded statements Monday and Tuesday that "I WILL NOT SELL MY TEAM."
Representatives of Donald Sterling, Ballmer and the NBA were also present Wednesday in a Los Angeles County courthouse. Paperwork has been filed but it's unclear whether an immediate hearing will be granted.
In public comments last week, both Donald Sterling and his attorneys indicated he would consent to the record-breaking sale. However, he has abruptly changed course this week.
"Two things happened," Sterling's longtime attorney Max Blecher told ESPN. "She decided to go for the mental incompetency to get rid of him. I think that ticked him off. And the frosting on the cupcake was [NBA commissioner Adam] Silver saying he was never going to repudiate the ban or the fines. I think Sterling [is] looking at this like, 'There's no dignity for me. I might as well fight.'
"If the league had reached out to him and said, 'Let's work something out, we can restore your dignity,' I think it's possible he would have changed his mind. But they didn't ... so he decided it wasn't worth doing the sale. He doesn't need the money. He wanted to fight for his dignity."
On Monday, Blecher had suggested Donald Sterling might challenge Shelly Sterling directly in probate court. Now, he said, Donald Sterling will respond to the motion she files Wednesday.
Blecher told ESPN that he will seek independent medical evaluations of Donald Sterling to evaluate the diagnosis and findings of the two neurologists who examined him previously.
In an interview with ESPN's Sage Steele during halftime of Game 3 of the NBA Finals on Tuesday, Silver said the NBA is essentially "on the sidelines" and standing back and allowing "this dispute between Donald and Shelly Sterling to play itself out."
"We had scheduled a hearing for our owners in which we were going to move to terminate his franchise," Silver told Steele. "We never got to that hearing because Shelly Sterling said to us, 'I'm selling the team,' and then she went and sold them the team. Donald's attorney actually sent us a letter saying he was agreeing to allow her to negotiate the sale of the franchise.
"But because we knew Donald was also suing us, we asked Shelly to indemnify us, to ensure if Donald didn't go along with the sale that she would cover us. She did. So this is really now a dispute between the Sterlings."
Neither Shelly Sterling nor Ballmer had any comment on Donald Sterling's latest assertions. Ballmer has not yet been approved by the NBA Board of Governors.