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ATLANTA (CNN) — The sale of the Los Angeles Clippers may be close, but NBA commissioner Adam Silver says it's not time to celebrate yet.
"When it's done, then we can take a deep breath," he told CNN's Rachel Nichols on Sunday.
Until then, Silver notes, embattled team owner Donald Sterling still hasn't withdrawn a billion-dollar lawsuit against the NBA.
"He's unsold his club several times over the years," Silver said in his first sit- down interview since the scandal broke. "There's well-noted incidents in the league when he was right there at a closing and at the last minute decided not to sell. And until he signs that document, we still have a pending litigation with him."
The Sterling scandal thrust the rookie commissioner — who hasn't even moved into predecessor David Stern's office yet — into the spotlight just months into his tenure.
Sterling's recorded racist remarks to his companion, V. Stiviano, spawned outrage among NBA fans, players and executives. Chief among the latter was Silver, who banned Sterling from the league, fined him $2.5 million and pushed through a charge to terminate all of his ownership rights in the franchise.
He's unsold his club several times over the years. There's well-noted incidents in the league when he was right there at a closing and at the last minute decided not to sell. And until he signs that document, we still have a pending litigation with him.
"You deal with the cards as they're dealt," Silver told Nichols. "And we dealt with it."
Silver earned near universal praise for the swift and decisive action he took against Sterling, even if the fledgling boss didn't quite grasp the magnitude of what he was doing at the time.
"I [hadn't] walked out on such a large stage, really, ever in my career with that many cameras, that many members of the media," he told Nichols about the April 29 press conference in which he announced the punitive action against Sterling. "Up until the last second, I was really writing what I was going to say."
Nichols also asked the commissioner about another more recent challenge Silver has been faced with: "Cramp-gate."
The air-conditioning inside San Antonio's AT&T Center failed during Game 1 of the NBA Finals on Thursday, sending the arena into sweltering conditions and Heat star LeBron James to the bench with cramps.
While some are floating conspiracy theories on behalf of the Spurs -- something Silver denies — he nevertheless says the buck stops with the commissioner.
"I'm ultimately responsible," he told Nichols.
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