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Commissioner Silver: Sterling matter won't impede Clippers in upcoming NBA draft, free agency

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MIAMI - The NBA draft is in less than two weeks, free agency officially starts in less than three weeks, and the Los Angeles Clippers could still have some rocky moments ahead regarding their ownership situation.

Adam Silver isn't worried.

The NBA commissioner said he has plenty of confidence that the Clippers — with coach Doc Rivers and interim CEO Dick Parsons at the controls of the franchise's basketball orders of business — will manage to go about their off-season dealings without any problems, even though the Donald Sterling matter that has complicated things for the team in recent months remains unsettled and may stay that way for the foreseeable future.

"It's not a level of concern for us," Silver told The Associated Press this week. "Doc Rivers is the head of basketball operations of the Clippers. We've installed Dick Parsons as the interim CEO. He's on the same page as Doc. They're working together. Dick Parsons has the absolute authority from the league office to operate the Clippers in the best interest of the organization."

Silver banned Sterling for life back in April, and the ownership situation has hovered over the league since. Sterling's estranged wife Shelly Sterling has agreed to sell the team for $2 billion to Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, but that deal cannot go forward until a lawsuit filed against the NBA and Silver by the banned owner is resolved or dropped.

The league is hopeful for a quick closure. Donald Sterling, for now, does not seem willing to allow that to happen. But even though the league was forced to act on Sterling when he was caught making racist comments on tape, what the Clippers do with their roster now is up to them. It's a far cry from the situation in New Orleans a few years back, when ownership problems there essentially forced now-retired commissioner David Stern to run the franchise.

"Unlike the situation in New Orleans, they will not run draft decisions or trade decisions by the league office," Silver said.

Silver has expressed mild frustration with the fact that Sterling has overshadowed the playoffs, his first as commissioner. Even the NBA Finals between San Antonio and Miami have seen plenty of Sterling-related news pop up, taking at least some of the attention off what's happening on the court.

He insists, though, that the legal wrangling isn't taking away from his enjoyment of the finals.

"It's not about me at all," Silver said. "I'm playing a role here as commissioner and in my position as commissioner of the NBA I'm doing what I believe is in the best interest of the league. It's not personal for me.

"It's part of the job. For better or worse, it's part of the job."

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