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Clippers and NBA Reach Agreement; Suit Dropped

September 30, 1987|CHRIS BAKER | Times Staff Writer

The Clippers have reached an out-of-court settlement with the National Basketball Assn. over the league's suit to force the club to move back to San Diego.

Under terms of the settlement, which was sent to teams in a special telex Tuesday, the Clippers will pay the NBA about $5.7 million, which is its share of the expansion revenue paid by the league's four new franchises.

Miami, Minneapolis, Orlando and Charlotte paid $32.5 million apiece to join the league. The total of $130 million was to be divided among the current 23 teams.

The settlement was reached after negotiations between NBA Commissioner David J. Stern and Clipper owner Donald T. Sterling.

"I conclude this matter with the utmost respect for Commissioner Stern, the NBA and the other owners," Sterling said.

The settlement must be approved by a three-fourths majority of the NBA Board of Governors. However, according to the telex that announced the settlement, anything less than a unanimous vote may complicate the agreement between the NBA and the Clippers.

The NBA has scheduled a special vote of the board by telex. All votes must be received by 5 p.m. EST.

However, Clipper officials are confident that the settlement will be approved.

"It's virtually a done deal," said Andy Roeser, Clipper executive vice president in charge of business operations. "I think it represents a good deal for the league and a good deal for us.

"Now that the law suit is behind us, we can get down to the real issue at hand, basketball.

"Commissioner Stern was very instrumental in resolving this matter with owner Donald Sterling. Both parties are delighted with the outcome."

NBA officials refused to discuss the settlement.

"We have no comment," said Brian McIntyre, NBA director of public relations.

However, sources said that the NBA is waiting on the vote of the board before it officially announces the settlement.

The NBA filed suit to force the team back to San Diego after the Clippers moved here in 1984 without league approval.

The suit was scheduled to go to trial in San Diego federal court on Oct. 6. The NBA was seeking to have the move overturned and force the club back to San Diego or to order Sterling to pay $25 million, which was the NBA's estimate of the current value of the Clippers.

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