$2 billion deal to sell Clippers confirmed

By Brian Todd, Steve Almasy and Mariano Castillo

(CNN) -- A deal has been reached for the sale of the Los Angeles Clippers.

Donald Sterling's estranged wife, Shelly Sterling, confirmed Friday she has signed a binding contract to sell the basketball franchise to former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer for $2 billion.

Earlier, CNN had reported on the planned sale, citing sources familiar with the negotiations.

In April, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver banned Donald Sterling over racist comments he made in a private conversation that was taped. Silver also fined him $2.5 million. The move prompted the league's other 29 owners to begin proceedings to strip the longtime owner and his wife of the team.

The sale will have to be approved at a NBA Board of Governors meeting. And the sale still may have to be approved by Donald Sterling, according to earlier comments by his attorney.

Shelly Sterling praised Ballmer's purchase.

"We have worked for 33 years to build the Clippers into a premiere NBA franchise," she said in a statement. "I am confident that Steve will take the team to new levels of success."

If the deal goes through, it would be the largest sum paid for an NBA franchise. Last month, the Milwaukee Bucks, a team with losing record in a small television market, sold for $550 million.

Ballmer is worth $20 billion, according to Forbes magazine.

"I love basketball. And I intend to do everything in my power to ensure that the Clippers continue to win -- and win big -- in Los Angeles," Balmer said in a statement Friday.

Donald Sterling has been the controlling owner of the Clippers since buying the team in 1981 for $12 million.

CNN's Kevin Wang contributed to this report.

The-CNN-Wire

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