Donald Sterling Will “Fight to Keep the Team,” Won't Drop NBA Lawsuit

Sterling decided to go back on the deal less than one week after agreeing to the sale

Donald Sterling says he is not selling the Los Angeles Clippers and is not dropping his $1 billion lawsuit against the NBA, after announcing last week that he had agreed to sell the team to former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer.

"I have decided that I must fight to protect my rights," Sterling said Monday in a letter obtained by NBC News. "I love the team and have dedicated 33 years of my life to the organization. I intend to fight to keep the team."

Sterling made the announcement, less than one week after indicating he had agreed to the sale, because he believes his "rights to privacy and the preservation of my rights to due process should not be trampled."

Sterling also said on Monday he would pursue his lawsuit over the NBA's effort to oust him, after his lawyer Bobby Samini told NBC News last week that he was dropping it.

"We have been instructed to prosecute the lawsuit," said lawyer Maxwell Blecher on Monday.

The $2 billion sale was negotiated last week by his wife, Shelly. Sterling's lawyer Samini said June 4 that Donald had agreed to the deal and would drop the suit against the league because "all disputes and outstanding issued have been resolved."

The lawsuit alleges the league violated his constitutional rights by relying on information from an "illegal" recording that publicized racist remarks he made to a girlfriend. It also said the league committed a breach of contract by fining Sterling $2.5 million and that it violated antitrust laws by trying to force a sale.

The Sterling firestorm began after the audio surfaced of Donald Sterling telling V. Stiviano to not bring black people to Clippers games. NBA Commissioner Adam Silver moved to oust him as owner by banning him for life and fining him $2.5 million.

Sterling decided not to sign the papers inking the deal with Ballmer after learning the NBA won't revoke its lifetime ban and fine.

Shelly Sterling utilized her authority as sole trustee of the Sterling Family Trust, which owns the Clippers, to take bids for the team and ultimately negotiate a deal with Ballmer. The deal would have record-breaking if approved by the NBA's owners.

Samini was asked on the TODAY Show Tuesday morning whether his client understood that the fine and life-time ban would stand when he seemed to agree to the deal last week.

"I'm not going to go into the particulars of the discussions, but that clearly wasn't the understanding," said Samini. "Adam Silver has come out now and made it clear he isn't going to back off. The bigger issue here is that my client is out to clear his name."

If the deal does go through, its terms would allow Shelly Sterling to remain close to the organization by allowing for up to 10 percent of the team — or $200 million — to be spun off into a charitable foundation that she would essentially run.

Shelly Sterling and Ballmer would be co-chairs of the foundation, which would target underprivileged families, battered women, minorities and inner city youths.

Under the deal Shelly Sterling would also get the title of "owner emeritus" and be entitled to continuing perks such as floor seats, additional seats at games and parking.

One of the individuals said the deal also includes conditions that allow Ballmer to buy back the 10 percent portion of the team for a pre-designated price upon Shelly Sterling's death.

 The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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