Could the Los Angeles Clippers break their Western Conference Finals ‘curse’ and establish a new image by relocating to another city?
When billionaire Steve Ballmer purchased the Los Angeles Clippers from Donald Sterling, he was the first person to come out and say he had no intention of moving the Clippers. Could it be time for him to reconsider?
Although the Clippers have come a long way since moving to L.A. in 1984, they can’t seem to get to the Western Conference Finals, let alone the NBA Finals to actually fight for a title. They’ve traded and drafted their way to adapt with the Lob City era and their star Big 3. They have changed logos. They have even brought in Chuck the Condor.
Have you ever tried to figure out a problem, and with every solution, it brings up a new problem? And no matter how hard you try, you can’t get over the hump? Just like a computer, or the not so smart phones, sometimes its better to hit the reset button and start from scratch.
Various reports in recent months have confirmed that Adam Silver wants to bring a team back to Seattle, even though he knows it isn’t necessarily easy to do.
So, which city happens to have multiple professional basketball teams?
As much as I personally wouldn’t want the Clippers to leave L.A., nor would the many fans in the city, I just as much want them to get to the finals before Lob City runs out of time. Would moving to Seattle and hitting the reset button (at least in terms of location and identity) work? Could the city of Seattle use the “12th Man” philosophy and embrace the Clippers? Could you imagine Seattle’s 12th Man making all that noise inside of a building instead of the open stadium?
By far, it could be the loudest place to play, and give the Clippers a home court advantage that they wouldn’t have to share and Seattle’s basketball fans a contender to cheer for.
For the longest time, the Clippers were the red-headed step child to the Lakers. However, over the past few years, the fan base has partly transitioned to embrace the Clippers. Up until Doc Rivers was hired, the Lakers banners still hung during Clippers home games.
Steve Ballmer, Clippers owner and former CEO of Microsoft, currently resides a ferry ride away from Seattle. In 2011, he was part of an investor group headed by Chris Hansen (Valiant Capital Management) who were looking to scoop up a failing franchise and bring them to Seattle. In 2012-13, he almost did it — an offer that was agreed to in principle between the Sacramento Kings and the Hansen-Ballmer group.
The sale of the franchise and the relocation was all but locked up, but Sacramento’s mayor had other plans. They found an alternative group to purchase the Kings, who would keep them in sunny California. After both proposals, and a short bidding war, the relocation proposal was vetoed by the board of governors, and the Maloof family reluctantly sold the Kings to the home based Ranadivé’s ownership group.
If Ballmer could pull off a move now, he would become an instant hero in Seattle, while becoming an instant villain in the city of Los Angeles. If any city could recover from losing a franchise however, it would be L.A. They still have the Lakers (who may start to improve soon), and they are bringing in the Rams football organization.
The recovering process would be minimal, especially when compared to cities like St. Louis, who recently lost their beloved Rams.
Plus, from an entertainment standpoint, the Clippers and former Supersonics have very comparable teams with their alley-oop connections.
But could it actually happen? Could Ballmer feasibly move the Clippers to Seattle?
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It’s highly unlikely it will happen before the Clippers Big 3 come to an end, seeing as 2016-17 may be their last season together. Another reason a relocation hasn’t happen yet is the lack of venue. Although, Ballmer’s former partner, Chris Hansen, owns the property needed to build one.
The amount of time it would take to build an arena and go through the process would be more time than the Clippers have. An ageing Chris Paul and a possibly frustrated Blake Griffin are only under contract through next year, with player options for 2017-18. A relocation could all but assure an opt-out.
But as we speculate and theorize during the offseason, one can wonder whether Ballmer will ever be interested in shifting his team to Seattle. Only time will tell.
With the emergence of the Seahawks as an NFL powerhouse in recent years, it would be nice to see the city get a little love and reclaim an NBA franchise.
Imagine if it were the Clippers.