Report: Steve Ballmer Finalizes Purchase Of Los Angeles Clippers, Awaiting NBA Approval

AP File

AP File

Seattle-based former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer’s pursuit of the Los Angeles Clippers is reportedly over as he has signed a sale agreement with Donald Sterling, according to Ramona Shelburne of

Shelburne also reports that the sale will go straight to the NBA for approval.

The Los Angeles Times were the first to report that Ballmer had the winning bid, which is reportedly $2 billion.

James Rainey writes:

Ballmer bid higher than competitors that included Los Angeles-based investors Tony Ressler and Bruce Karsh and a group that included David Geffen and executives from the Guggenheim Group, the Chicago-based owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers.

The Geffen group offered $1.6 billion and the Ressler-Karsh group $1.2 billion. People familiar with both those offers said they were rejected.

Of course, with Ballmer living in nearby Seattle, there will be obvious questions about the possibility of moving the Clippers to the Northwest and restoring the I-5 rivalry.

Right now, it doesn’t look likely.

Here’s what Ballmer said to the Wall Street Journal regarding the sale (via the Seattle Post-Intelligencer):

While Ballmer sidestepped the Clippers situation, he left no doubts as to his future NBA ambitions. “I love basketball, and I’d love to participate at some point in the NBA,” he told the Journal. “If the opportunity is outside of Seattle, so be it. I will learn about any team that comes up for sale at this point.”

Ballmer also shot down the notion of purchasing the Clippers with the intention of moving them to the Pacific Northwest. “If I get interested in the Clippers, it would be for Los Angeles,” he said. “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 addresses that it would lower the value of the team especially after he’s payed $2 billion, but the benefit of a bigger market didn’t work out in Seattle’s favor when they lost the Sonics to Oklahoma City.

The Thunder’s current ownership group said they would keep the Sonics in Seattle upon purchase, if they built a new arena to replace Key Arena, which of course they did not.

The Clippers are currently renting their space at the Staples Center and are the only team in the league without their own building.

While there is precedent for such a move from a big marker to a smaller one, it doesn’t look likely with this particular scenario at the moment.

And, as per my self-imposed rule, there shall be no post regarding Ballmer’s purchase without this video.


Erik Gundersen

Erik Gundersen

Erik Gundersen is the Trail Blazers beat reporter for The Columbian. He's a graduate of the Allen School of Journalism and Communication at the University of Oregon in addition earning a degree in Spanish. He's covered the NBA for four seasons. You can also occasionally find his work on's NBA section for their TrueCities series. He also fist-bumped with Kanye West once. Follow @BlazerBanter on twitter for more Blazers and NBA news.

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