Culver City Observer -

Clippers May Leave Staples Center, Not LA

Owner Ballmer: "I'll Die As The Owner Of The LA Clippers

 

August 11, 2016

The Clippers' lease with Staples Center runs until 2024. So they aren't going anywhere else until then.

But there are rumors that the Clippers will leave. And runaway rumors must be addressed.

Here are the facts. The Clippers are unhappy about being the third tenant in Staples Center, which results in them getting the third choice of dates and starting times behind the Lakers and Kings.

The Clippers are especially annoyed by getting Sunday afternoon games while the Lakers play on Sunday nights.

As an aside, I'm not bothered by that. I'd rather attend a Sunday afternoon game and have the evening off. And the Clippers are far better than the Lakers so I'm seeing the more important game.

But the Clippers do object.

Rumors have surfaced that the Clippers may leave LA when their lease expires, most likely moving to Seattle, where owner Steve Ballmer previously lived. Or perhaps the Clippers would move to Orange County, which they considered in the past.

But Ballmer says the Clippers will remain in LA, perhaps in a new arena they'll build to escape the shadow of the Lakers.

Several sites are under consideration, one n West LA.

"I will die as the owner of the Los Angeles Clippers,' says Ballmer.

When Ballmer purchased the Clippers following the reign of Donald Sterling in 2014 he quickly put down rumors that he'd move the team to Seattle, which used to have an NBA team before it moved to Oklahoma City.

He was adamant that the team would remain in LA and he's just as adamant now.

But there are important benefits for a team to have its own arena.

Despite the Clippers' superior play on the court (55 regular season wins to the Lakers' 17 last season) the Lakers retain a loyal fan base, the result of winning 16 NBA championships in their history.

One Clippers championship would close the gap a little but that doesn't seem likely anytime soon because the Golden State Warriors have added Kevin Durant to an already superior team and the Cleveland Cavaliers are the league's current champion.

Right now the Clippers remove the Lakers' player photos and substitute their own on game nights.

Regarding the upcoming season, Coach Doc Rivers downplays rumors that the Clippers will trade star forward Blake Griffin who can become a free agent in a year.

The Clippers signed most of their players who became free agents in the summer and look as strong as last season.

Griffin, Chris Paul and DeAndre Jordan form an outstandinbg nucleus. Then there's J.J. Redic and the Clippers were able to sign veteran forward Brandon Bass, who played well for the Lakers last season, and point guard Raymond Felton.

So, like it or not, the Clippers will be in Staples Center for awhile. They sell out most of their games so it's not like they're being ignored.

But Ballmer can afford to build a new arena and he seems to be seriously considering it,

 

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