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Report: Microsoft’s Steve Balmer offers $1.8 billion for Clippers, Shelly Sterling tries to make fast deal

May 29, 2014, 11:37 AM EDT

Donald Sterling, Rochelle Sterling Donald Sterling, Rochelle Sterling

In the end, this may all be moot.

However Shelly Sterling is feverishly still collecting bids and hopes to have a handshake deal to sell the Clippers to one of the bidders in place by Monday, before the league’s other owners scheduled to vote on the charges against Donald Sterling on Tuesday, potentially stripping him of his ownership.

Among those bids is a big one from Steve Balmer reports Forbes.

Former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer has offered $1.8 billion for the Los Angeles Clippers, according to a person familiar with Ballmer’s interest in the NBA team. Ballmer, who retired as Microsoft’s CEO four months ago has a net worth of $20 billion. Another source, with intimate knowledge of the bids that Rochelle Sterling has thus far received for the basketball team, said offers have come in between $1 billion and $2 billion and that the Ballmer package is strong.

There are other groups allegedly interested, reportedly at least six. The “super group” of Larry Ellison, Oprah Winfrey and David Geffen — now with two of the Guggenheim group guys (Magic Johnson’s investors) — has the ability to outbid anybody and likely do it in cash. Grant Hill’s group is said to have bid $1.2 million. Don’t count out the reported “richest man in Los Angeles,” medical researcher and business man Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong, who already owns four percent of the Lakers and has been vetted by the league.

But again, this may all be moot.

Donald Sterling — still the official controlling owner in the eyes of the league (Shelly owns half through a trust but is not the recognized lead owner by the league) — is saying he doesn’t want to sell (his attorney says he changed his mind from when he gave a letter to Shelly Sterling saying to try and sell the team). The league’s owners may vote the Sterlings out as owners on June 3 and handle the sale themselves — the league is not slowing down it’s process. If one were cynical you would say this rushed sale could all be part of Donald Sterling’s grand plan to get a franchise valuation as part of his planned lawsuit against the league.

On top of it all there was this tweet from Bill Simmons of ESPN and Grantland:

If true, I would think all those smart business men and women would know better than to give the Sterlings a non-refundable deposit right before the league’s owners votes on removing them.

Adam Silver has to see the media circus around this and knowing that the vote is going to come two days before the start of the NBA Finals, Silver is going to push to end this. Whatever the league does, however Sterling reacts, it will cast a shadow over the NBA Finals.

What Silver wants is that shadow gone by the start of next season. For that reason the league is not going to slow down.

  1. RavenzGunnerz - May 29, 2014 at 11:44 AM

    Too many messages coming from the Sterling camp. The fact is, Sterling can waste his money fighting the NBA, but it won’t get him anywhere.

    The Clippers have the highest value right now, and so, it’s time to sell.

    All other antics are just useless.

    • jcmeyer10 - May 29, 2014 at 12:04 PM

      Yah, he should save that money for the capital gains tax he is going to pay when Steve Ballmer buys the team.

  2. karlton3 - May 29, 2014 at 12:06 PM

    I could outbid Grant Hill’s group.

    • amlowlife - May 29, 2014 at 12:12 PM

      Karlton3 — “I could outbid Grant Hill’s group”

      Not so fast… Those residuals Hill gets from that incredible AT&T commercial run into the tens of, um, hundreds every year…

      • genericcommenter - May 29, 2014 at 4:21 PM

        What about “Grant Hill drinks Sprite”?

      • daddyghi - May 29, 2014 at 11:09 PM

        @genericcommenter – and his FILA endorsements…

  3. bougin89 - May 29, 2014 at 12:16 PM

    $300 million dollar non refundable down payment just to make a bid?

    That’s the biggest joke of all in this circus that is the Sterlings.

  4. loungefly74 - May 29, 2014 at 12:20 PM

    …would love Balmer to get the Clips and move them to Seattle ASAP…says the Laker fan.

  5. hdsnake867 - May 29, 2014 at 12:32 PM

    If Balmer buys the Clippers, it could mean a relocation to Seattle. That would be a win-win all around.

    • AZ Dem - May 30, 2014 at 6:20 AM

      Are you a child? The Clips are locked into an ironclad lease with the Staples Center through 2024. The Clips are also locked into TV contracts. Which don’t allow for the team to relocate.

  6. csbanter - May 29, 2014 at 12:39 PM

    Balmer should be allowed to move the team to Seattle if he ante up that reported price. The NBA would be fools to pour water on this deal just to keep Los Angeles JV basketball team in LA.

    • vapor54 - May 29, 2014 at 1:06 PM

      cs- Clips made the playoffs, Lakers didn’t . Which squad is JV?

      • asimonetti88 - May 29, 2014 at 3:17 PM

        Which team has the billion dollar TV deal in LA?

    • AZ Dem - May 30, 2014 at 6:22 AM

      The Clips are locked into contractual agreements that prevent them from relocating any time within the next 10 years.

  7. biggestkahunaburger - May 29, 2014 at 12:47 PM

    “Grant Hill’s group is said to have bid $1.2 million.”

    That’s a bold strategy, Cotton. Let’s see if it pays off for ’em.

  8. Robert - May 29, 2014 at 2:26 PM

    The Ming Dynasty is coming. China Clippers 206.

  9. mrjackson206 - May 29, 2014 at 2:41 PM

    Bring back our Sonics!!

  10. phillyguyindc - May 29, 2014 at 2:44 PM

    Why would he move them to Seattle? They’ll make more/be worth more in LA.

  11. jerdogthompson - May 29, 2014 at 2:45 PM

    Aha the Laker trolls have awoken. The Fakers will be a lottery team next year as well. Look, the Fakers had their run now sit back and enjoy basement dwelling for a stint.

    Move the team, Hardy,har,har,har. That takes first place for the most moronic statement of the week. First, the NBA would not allow the team to be relocated period. Secondly, moving the team would wipe out 65% of the 1.8-2.2 billion dollar sale estimate. Third, let me ask you trolls why do you think the value of the team is estimated so high? (I can see those hamsters running in their little wheel right now) Give up………TV contracts you tards. The 3 billion the Fakers got from TWC to show games on the history channel will look like chump change when the Clippers get their contract.

    Lastly, moving the team would guarantee those TV contracts would not be received. Nice try trolls… run along children adults are trying to have a conversation.


    • asimonetti88 - May 29, 2014 at 3:23 PM

      “The 3 billion the Fakers got from TWC to show games on the history channel will look like chump change when the Clippers get their contract.”

      Considering the Lakers’ ratings were down by over 30%, and the Clippers were up by about 40%, and the Lakers still had more viewers this year, I would dispute that notion.

  12. stoptrippn - May 29, 2014 at 3:34 PM

    Come on Ballmer

  13. jerdogthompson - May 29, 2014 at 3:43 PM

    I wouldn’t expect anything less asimo, I could be wrong but I thought the Warriors/Clippers playoff series had the highest viewership in NBA history, again I could be wrong but swore I read it here.

    Do the beloved Lakers have more “total” fans in the US & worldwide, well yes. This is for obvious reasons, however, there will be reduced viewer numbers going forward as they go through their rebuilding process (That team was painful to watch last year and not much is gonna change next season personnel wise) and Clippers will see an increase. Look I knows it hard for fans to recognize the Lakers will never be the dynasty they once were. Again, I know its hard.

    Now, you have a new “deep” pocketed ownership group coming to town coupled with a chance for that group and team to make history. Thus driving the value of that upcoming TV contract, thus driving the sale price of the team. The bidders watched how Magic and his group got fat dumb and happy the same way and are bidding on the TV contract as much as the team.


  14. kb2408 - May 29, 2014 at 4:07 PM

    I have 15 grand, a PURPLE #32 LAKERS jersey and a GOLD #8 jersey…both in mint condition. How bout it, Don?

  15. AZ Dem - May 30, 2014 at 6:46 AM

    1) The Clips are not relocating to Seattle or anywhere else for that matter. They are contractually locked into staying at the Staples Center through 2024. These lease agreements are ironclad. Nobody has every been able to break one.

    2) The Clips are not going to be sold “overnight.” The process will probably take about 2 years. You cannot sell an NBA franchise on eBay. It has to go through the NBA’s Commissioner’s Office. It’s a laborious process. Every single member (more than 8%) of the ownership group must undergo a background investigation. That usually takes 6-8 months. Then the NBA will have to look into your finances in order to see if you really have the financial wherewithal to operate a franchise. And finally, you have to convince the other owners that you are worthy. It’s a fraternity. Really. It’s like pledging a fraternity.

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