The National Basketball Association is preparing to indefinitely suspend the 80-year-old billionaire owner of the Los Angeles Clippers unless he agrees to step down and sell the team he has owned since 1981, RadarOnline.com has learned.
A source close to the investigation described the potential deal as a "blessing in disguise" for both the team and the NBA.
The league has announced it will conduct a swift and thorough investigation of the alleged racist rants made by Donald Sterling, who as Radar reported, was caught on audio tape questioning his girlfriend's association with minorities.
"If the NBA determines the tape is authentic, they have indicated he will be indefinitely suspended unless he agrees to step down and sell the team," a top-ranking official told Radar.
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said at the weekend that the league needs to confirm authenticity of the audio tape and interview both Sterling and the woman in the recording.
He called the tape "disturbing and offensive."
"Donald's racist views were hardly shocking to anyone outside of the NBA," said the source.
"Let's not forget, he was sued by former Clipper manager Elgin Baylor for racial discrimination, and settled a lawsuit with the government over allegations that he discriminated against tenants at apartment buildings he owns. Donald doesn't have any friends or allies among other owners in the league."
But the source warned, "The NBA is tightly governed about forcing an owner to sell a team. The NBA can only force an owner to sell if the team is facing dire financial circumstances, such as not being able to make payroll."
Time magazine named Sterling one of the most hated sports team owners in 2012.
The Clippers are currently in the Western Conference playoffs and are scheduled to play the Golden State Warriors on Tuesday at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. The series is currently tied 2-2.
However, Sterling has agreed to not "go to the game on Tuesday night," the source revealed.
"The NBA can't ban him from going to games, yet, but even Donald knows that it would be stupid to go. He is a distraction to the team and a black eye for Los Angeles."