After Los Angeles Clippers’ owner Donald Sterling was recorded making racist remarks and those comments became public, Sterling was banned from the NBA for life and fined $2.5 million. After that, it was only a matter of time before the team would be under new ownership.
The sale of the team soon turned into what was basically an option and former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer became the favorite to land the club. He reportedly bid $1.8 million for the club and on Thursday, The Los Angeles Times reported Ballmer would be buying the Clippers for $2 billion.
The sale is not yet official, but there is a belief that the sale could soon come to fruition.
Not only has this caused many to speculate what NBA franchises like the Los Angeles Lakers and New York Knicks would be worth, but whether or not Ballmer would consider moving the team.
Ballmer has shown interested in buying a team before. He was one of the candidates to buy the Sacramento Kings and h
In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, Ballmer wouldn’t admit his interest in the Clippers, but did tell the newspaper that a team didn’t necessarily have to be in Seattle since he retired as the CEO of Microsoft just four months ago.
“I have nothing definitive to say,” Ballmer said. “”Am I right on top of what’s going on there? Absolutely I am. I love basketball, and I’d love to participate at some point in the NBA. If the opportunity is outside of Seattle, so be it. I will learn about any team that comes up for sale at this point… If I get interested in the Clippers, it would be for Los Angeles. I don’t work anymore, so I have more geographic flexibility than I did a year, year-and-a half ago. Moving them anywhere else would be value destructive.”
Ballmer is exactly right – the biggest reason the Clippers have increased in value so much since Sterling bought the team for $12.5 million in 1981 is their location.
Plus, even if Ballmer wanted to move the team to Seattle, he would have a very difficult time doing so.
Back in January of 2013, the Clippers extended their lease with the Staples Center by 10 years, meaning that will be their home until at least June of 2024.
On top of that, the NBA would do everything in their power to prevent Ballmer from moving the team out of Los Angeles. The NBA’s other 29 owners will also have to approve of the sale and if Ballmer did not pledge to keep the Clippers in Los Angeles, the sale would likely be voted down.