Could the Los Angeles Clippers be headed up the West Coast to Seattle?
Steve Ballmer and veteran guard Jamal Crawford would love that. While nothing’s final until it’s in concrete, relocating the Los Angeles Clippers to Seattle hasn’t been completed ruled out by their new owner. It’s just not an option on the franchise menu right now.Last week Ballmer’s bid to purchase the Clippers closed after a Los Angeles court confirmed Shelly Sterling’s authority to sell the team on behalf of the Sterling Family Trust. Ballmer not only overpaid for the Clippers, he revived the idea of the NBA back in Seattle.
The $2 billion price tag ensures the Clippers will stay in Los Angeles in the short-term, giving Ballmer enough opportunity to recoup some of that cash. While that happens, there’s no reason why Seattle SuperSonics fans can’t and won’t adopt the Clippers.
In an interview with ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne, Ballmer commented on the lengthy sale process coming to a final close.
“It’s very, very exciting. I’m a basketball nut. I’ve got time. I love Los Angeles. I love Seattle, too, which is where we have our home. But the notion of spending a lot of time in Los Angeles has been exciting to me for years. The community down there is great. I look forward to supporting the community, the fan base, the staff, Doc (Rivers) and the players to take this thing to higher heights.”
One foot is seemingly entrenched in Los Angeles, and the other out the door and headed for Seattle. Can you blame Ballmer? It could be karma for how Clay Bennett robbed Seattle of the SuperSonics, or just a hometown guy wanting the best for his city.
Regardless as to which of the aforementioned is the overriding factor, there’s an expiration date on the Clippers in Los Angeles and the clock has started ticking.
First, there’s no clause in the terms of sale sheet which stipulates Ballmer must keep the Clippers in Los Angeles. In layman’s terms, it’s his team so he can do what he wants. Until he does, Seattle fans may begin to have more in common with Los Angeles than recent years.
After all “home is where the heart is,” just as the adage says. And there’s a ton of heart for Ballmer and the Clippers in Seattle.
Jamal Crawford was a standout at Rainier Beach High School and still hosts pro-am tournaments every summer. There’s a growing connection between the Clippers and Seattle which makes a relocation plausible and as time moves on possible.
After all, which tandem in the league reminds fans most of Shawn Kemp and Gary Payton? And is it fair to say the Clippers have a small guard that’s Ray Allenesque? The Clippers already have the style of play reminiscent of the historic Sonics teams, and as the ties begin to bind even further they may eventually replace them.
There’s only two teams that don’t have their own arenas in the NBA. One is the Clippers and the other is the Los Angeles Lakers. Although most will argue that Staples Center is the house built by the purple and gold, the truth is both teams pay rent. Neither of them technically own Staples, although the Lakers have a bit more right to claim ownership than the Clippers.
The Lakers are the primary tenant at Staples Center. AEG, which owns Staples Center, also owns close to a third of the Lakers so there’s some partial truth to the “get your own house” debate between Lakers and Clippers fans.
Moving the Clippers to Seattle turns a long-term investment into an even longer one for Ballmer. Although Seattle’s a huge basketball community, the profits made in Los Angeles would be tough to match. It’s in Ballmer’s nature to take on challenges.
Perhaps this will be his next one.