Clippers owner Steve Ballmer plans to build a new arena in Inglewood, Calif. despite lawsuits that essentially pit the franchise against Knicks owner James Dolan, Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN reports.
Dolan is the executive chairman and CEO of Madison Square Garden, which has owned the Forum — the former home of the Lakers — since 2011. The Forum is located in Inglewood and still hosts numerous events. MSG has two lawsuits pending, according to Youngmisuk, including one against the city of Inglewood and its mayor over building a new arena adjacent to the Forum.
Ballmer told reporters, including Youngmisuk, that he’s unfazed by the legal challenges. He’s eager for the team to have its own arena, rather than sharing one with the Lakers. The target date to move into the proposed arena is 2024, when the Clippers’ lease with Staples Center terminates.
“We are going to open that arena one way or another,” he said.
Ballmer invested $100M in the city of Inglewood last month. The investment was created as part of the city’s new arena development agreement and is focused on community programs.
Commissioner Adam Silver, who supports Ballmer’s plan to build the new arena, has talked to both owners about the legal action but isn’t ready to step in and settle the dispute.
Ballmer believes he’ll prevail in the end.
“We’re on a path where we think we can build the arena, whatever happens in the litigation,” he said. “We’re moving along. … The other side is just trying to slow us down a little bit. … I’m not sure they understand what they’ve gotten themselves into, from my perspective in the sense that we’ll just keep going.”