LOS ANGELES, May 20 (Reuters) - National Basketball Association Commissioner Adam Silver said on Tuesday he would prefer to let Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling sell his team "on a reasonable timetable" rather than proceed with trying to forcibly terminate his ownership.
The comments from Silver, signaling a willingness to strike a deal to avoid a showdown in his efforts to oust Sterling, came a day after the league formally charged that racist comments by Sterling have so seriously damaged the league that he should be removed.
The league has given Sterling until May 27 to respond to its charge and invited him to appear at a special hearing before the NBA Board of Governors set for June 3, after which the league's 29 other owners who make up the board could vote to strip him of his team.
Asked at a news conference in New York whether he would consider trying to hash out a deal "man-to-man" to avert a confrontation, Silver noted that for the time being, the Clippers still belong to Sterling and his estranged wife, Shelly, a 50-percent owner though a family trust.
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