Donald Sterling update: What's next for LA Clippers owner from legal standpoint

SCOTTSDALE, AZ - As a league, the NBA only has so much power to punish Donald Sterling, if racial allegations prove to be true.

The players' union has asked NBA Commissioner, Adam Silver, to act quickly. 

But, what can Silver legally do?

His first step is to confirm the recording is in fact of Sterling and not doctored. But, that can be difficult. TMZ has the original copy and the NBA does not have subpoena power to force the media agency to hand it over. 

Next, the league will have to interview Sterling and collect evidence. 

The Commissioner must ensure the "best interests" of the game are preserved, which means the league has the authority to suspend Sterling and invoke sanctions and fines. 

If the league decides Sterling acted irresponsibly, even a record-breaking fine of $1 million wouldn't hit Sterling too hard. According to Forbes, he's worth nearly $2 billion dollars. 

But, there's one thing the league cannot do: Force Sterling to sell the Clippers.

"With respect of whether they can oust him as an owner, that gets into private property rights and this is a private property matter," says Stephanie Fierro, Senior Counsel at The Frutkin Law Firm in Scottsdale. 

"So, I think their rights will stop at sanctions and fines."

On Tuesday, the Los Angeles Clippers play at home, and there are talks of big protests outside the arena.

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