We will start this story by saying this: While the LA Times is certainly a credible news organization, and we believe this report to be true because it makes sense, don't assume it's a done deal.
The Los Angeles Times reports that former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer has won the bidding war for Donald Sterling's Los Angeles Clippers.
The price: $1.8 billion....
Yes, that's right, $1.8 billion for a team that 20-years ago was the laughingstock of the NBA.
Ballmer's bid was the highest among the groups that made offers to Donald Sterling's wife Shelly.
Read more from the LA Times RIGHT HERE
Now...this report is tempered by the fact that depending on what time it is, Donald Sterling will say it's up to him to sell the team, he doesn't want to sell, he wants to fight the NBA.
And maybe he will. It's no secret Sterling will do things just to piss people off and he may do that here.
But how do you pass up $1.8 billion?
When it comes down to it, we don't think he will pass it up. But he will make the NBA, commissioner Adam Silver, the players and pretty much everyone else sweat while he takes his time making up his mind.
So there's that...
PM UPDATE: The LA Times Andrea Chang is hanging out outside the Sterling mansion right now and has reaction from Donald Sterling's attorney on her Twitter feed...
Sterling's lawyer just told me, in Sterling's driveway, "My belief is he will not sell this team."
Donald Sterling refused to come to the door of his home, but I could hear him holler, "How could she have the nerve to come here?"
Sharon Terlep over at the Wall Street Journal has the conditions of the sale for Sterling:
In order for the NBA to sign off on a sale, as it is required to, the league wants Mr. Sterling agree to several provisions: to not sue the league, to pay a $2.5 million fine levied by the league and to accept a lifetime ban imposed by the league.
2100 UPDATE: Ramona Shelburne is reporting that there is a "signed, binding agreement between Ballmer and the Sterling Family Trust" and that "the agreement is going straight to the NBA for final approval"
Still awaiting the reaction from Donald Sterling, though...