For months Steve Ballmer and fund manager Chris Hansen did everything they could to purchase the Sacramento Kings franchise in effort to relocate them to their native Seattle.
It was a near success before the NBA stepped in and allowed the city of Sacramento to retain their team, which after a lengthy fan-lead battle, they did.
Ballmer and Hansen then moved on to the Milwaukee Bucks, though then owner Herb Kohl rebuffed their efforts and sold the team to a lower bidder who intended to keep the Bucks local.
All of that eventually lead to Ballmer to purchase the Los Angeles Clippers, though this was done without his partner Chris Hansen unlike the previous two attempts.
Clearly, it’s safe to assume that Ballmer, who plopped down nearly $2 billion dollars to purchase the Clippers will keep them in Los Angeles, right? Not so fast. According to the New York Times, there is no specific language in the deal that will prevent Ballmer from relocating the franchise if he so chooses.
“Despite Mr. Ballmer’s assurances that the team would stay in Los Angeles, there was no clause in the term sheet that would bar him from moving it, according to people briefed on the discussions.”
Of course, there’s no greater market in the NBA outside of Los Angeles, even if the Clippers are the ugly stepchild to the Lakers. So moving out of a fine establishment like the Staples Center in the NBA’s largest market after paying $2 billion dollars is extremely unlikely, though, it’s certainly of interesting note given how hard Ballmer has pressed to get a franchise in Seattle.