The Clippers, no longer content to share the Staples Center with division and city rivals, the Lakers, are exploring their options regarding a new arena and location, Kevin Arnovitz of ESPN.com reports. The franchise declined to comment on whether or not they are actively searching for a new home, but an NBA source told the scribe that one area that has piqued the Clippers’ interest is Los Angeles’ west side.
Another league source informed Arnovitz that the Clippers have identified six locations, all in southern California, as possibilities for their new potential home. Speaking at the Geekwise Sports Tech Summit last week, team owner Steve Ballmer emphasized that he had no plans to move the team out of Los Angeles, Arnovitz relays. “The Clippers are not going anywhere, ever,” Ballmer said. “I will die owning the L.A. Clippers in Los Angeles.”
The team’s lease with the Staples Center, which was extended in 2013, runs through June of 2024. Sources informed Arnovitz that any potential move by the Clippers would occur after the current arrangement with the arena expires. The Clippers have been co-tenants of Staples Center, which is owned and operated by Anschutz Entertainment Group, sharing it with the Lakers and the NHL’s Kings since the facility opened in Los Angeles prior to the 1999/2000 NBA season.
Sources with knowledge of the team’s thinking told the ESPN scribe that the Clippers feel that they are in essence the arena’s “third tenant,” which is growing tiresome to Ballmer and the rest of the front office. The Clippers receive a smaller share of proceeds from suites and club seats than the Lakers and Kings, according to sources, and have a lesser say in scheduling and the overall fan experience at the Staples Center, Arnovitz notes. In 2015, Ballmer told the Los Angeles Times, “We’re third guy in, we have third choice in dates. If you are a good businessman, you don’t come to the end of your lease and say, ‘I have no options, landlord, please take me to the woodshed and beat me.’ We’ll have options.”
A new arena, in addition to expanding the team’s revenue stream inside the facility, would also allow Ballmer to develop the surrounding area similar to how entertainment and office facilities have integrated with the Staples Center, Arnovitz writes. The Clippers don’t currently own their training center, and a source with knowledge of the organization’s vision said a new arena complex would very likely include a new practice facility, the scribe adds.