LOS ANGELES: The NBA set the stage for the $2 billion sale of the Los Angeles Clippers to Steve Ballmer, halting its efforts to strip Donald Sterling of the club. Sterling’s wife Shelly Sterling negotiated the sale of the club to ex-Microsoft chief executive Ballmer in a deal that still must be approved by the league’s board of governors. Three quarters of the other 29 NBA club owners must ratify any sale. The price tag, for a team that has never won a championship, would set an NBA record —well above the record $550 million paid for the Milwaukee Bucks in April. It would mark a massive financial return for the 80-year-old Sterling on a club he purchased in 1981 for just $12 million.