Report: Clippers Owner Steve Ballmer in Advanced Talks to Buy LA Forum from MSG

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistMarch 2, 2020

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - FEBRUARY 03: Steve Ballmer attends a basketball game between the Los Angeles Clippers and the San Antonio Spurs at Staples Center on February 03, 2020 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Allen Berezovsky/Getty Images)
Allen Berezovsky/Getty Images

Los Angeles Clippers owner Steve Ballmer is reportedly close to purchasing The Forum in Inglewood, California, from the Madison Square Garden Company. 

Kevin Arnovitz of ESPN reported the negotiations are in the "advanced" stages, and buying it "would clear a major hurdle in the Clippers' efforts to construct a new home arena in the vicinity."

The Clippers released a statement about the negotiations but did not confirm the "advanced" part:

"The Clippers continue to pursue plans to build a state-of-the-art, 18,000-seat basketball arena and entertainment complex in Inglewood and are currently working with the city to successfully complete the comprehensive Environmental Impact Report. 

We are examining every possible way to resolve our differences with Madison Square Garden Co. regarding our new arena."

Arnovitz explained that MSG and chief executive officer James Dolan have been in a lengthy legal battle with Inglewood and Ballmer regarding the area.

Dolan said the city violated a previous agreement by helping the Clippers plan a new arena. He also said Murphy's Bowl LLC, which is owned by Ballmer, represented the Clippers and was able to secure land near The Forum that MSG was under the impression was being used for a technology park.

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As of now, the Clippers share Staples Center with the Los Angeles Lakers and the NHL's Los Angeles Kings

The Clippers' lease at Staples Center runs until June 2024, and Ballmer would like to be the lone NBA team in a basketball complex instead of sharing their current venue with the famous Lakers.

It is not difficult to envision the Lakers and Clippers facing each other in a playoff series this season with the majority of the fans pulling for the Purple and Gold even during the Clippers' "home" games.

The Lakers have a legacy of championships and some of the most famous and talented players in league history, while the Clippers have yet to win a title.

Owning an arena in Inglewood would ideally help the Clippers carve out a bigger percentage of fans in the Southern California area and further separate from the Lakers brand.

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