The craziness around the Clippers continues. Steve Ballmer, the former Microsoft executive, outbid other potential buyers and reportedly has pledged $2 billion for the team. That is about four times what has ever been paid for an NBA team. Not that this necessarily means he will be allowed to buy the team. His deal is with Shelly Sterling, who says she has Donald Sterling's proxy to tell the Clippers out of the couple's family trust, but it's unclear whether she actually does. It's also unknown if the details of Ballmer's package would be acceptable to the NBA. He previously was vetted to buy the Sacramento Kings with hopes to move the team to Seattle, where the fans are still reeling over the loss of the Sonics to Oklahoma City. But Ballmer has reportedly said he will not try to move the Clippers and says they only have this highly inflated value if playing in Los Angeles. That doesn't address whether the Clippers actually are worth $2 billion, as a tenant in a building and a city dominated by the Lakers, and with no cable channel of their own. The Dodgers sold for only a little more: $2.15 billion.
Here is Ballmer's statement:
I will be honored to have my name submitted to the NBA Board of Governors for approval as the next owner of the Los Angeles Clippers. I love basketball. And I intend to do everything in my power to ensure that the Clippers continue to win – and win big – in Los Angeles. LA is one of the world’s great cities – a city that embraces inclusiveness, in exactly the same way that the NBA and I embrace inclusiveness. I am confident that the Clippers will in the coming years become an even bigger part of the community. I thank Shelly Sterling for her willingness to entrust the Clippers franchise to me, and I am grateful to NBA Commissioner Adam Silver and his colleagues for working collaboratively with me throughout this process.
"Ballmer emerged Thursday night as the last suitor standing in a dizzying bidding process...," said the New York Times.
"Former Microsoft chief executive Steve Ballmer has won a frenetic bidding war for ownership of the Los Angeles Clippers...," says the LA Times.