The Co$t of Winning – Steve Ballmer Officially Clippers Owner

On Tuesday former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer officially became the owner of the Los Angeles Clippers. The sale of the basketball franchise was official ratified and at $2 billion, a record sale of an NBA franchise.

Ballmer Officially Owns Clippers

This brings to an end the uncertainty that has hung over the Los Angeles franchise over the last few months. Ballmer and the Clippers will look to move on from this incident and look to progress on from last season’s conference semi-final defeat to the Oklahoma City Thunder and challenge for the NBA finals.

Since April when former owner Donald Sterling was recorded making racially insensitive remarks The Clippers have been involved in legal battles to determine their future. NBA commissioner Adam Silver handed down a $2.5 million fine to Sterling and he was banned from the NBA for life. It then fell to Donald’s wife, Shelly Sterling, to arrange the sale of the franchise. However after Shelly had agreed the record breaking $2 billion deal with Ballmer, Donald instigated legal proceedings to try and block the sale. Even after the courts ratified Shelly Sterling right to sell the team, Donald made a last ditch attempt to have that decision overturned although that also failed.

Claim and Counterclaim

Still pending is Donald Sterling’s $ 1 billion lawsuit against the NBA, for damages and the forced sale of the franchise & on Monday the NBA filed a counterclaim, alleging that Sterling had done “devastating and incalculable harm” to the league. The NBA are seeking damages relating to their investigation of Sterling following the April incident and their defence of Sterling’s lawsuit against the NBA itself.

The Clippers themselves will hope that the confirmation of the sale will move them on from this controversy. The franchise will want the legal proceedings between the NBA and Donald Sterling will be just that and not drag the franchise back under a cloud which seems to have lifted in Los Angeles. However the presence of Shelly Sterling, who as part of the sale to Ballmer will have two courtside seats, will serve as a stark reminder as what happened and will lead to the franchise being associated with the name Sterling for a while yet.

The immediate future for the Clippers was also given a boost by Ballmer who vowed to keep the team in Los Angeles. Having already tried and failed to purchase the Sacramento Kings and move them to Seattle, speculation was that he may try to move the Clippers, however on Tuesday he confirmed that he would be keeping the Clippers in Los Angeles.

The Clippers now have the opportunity to look ahead to the new season free of the controversy that has hung over them in recent months. Head Coach Doc Rivers will hope to take the team to the next level now the team is free of distractions. In a very competitive western conference the Clippers will need to be 100% focused on the task at hand.

 

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