Clippers owner Steve Ballmer is in advanced negotiations to purchase The Forum in Inglewood, California from its current owner, the Madison Square Garden Company, sources tell ESPN’s Kevin Arnovitz.
The Forum, the former home of the Lakers and the NHL’s Los Angeles Kings, is no longer the home arena for any professional sports teams, but continues to host major sporting events and concerts. With the Clippers looking to open a brand-new arena of their own in Inglewood once their current agreement with the Staples Center expires, the presence of The Forum has represented a major roadblock.
Ballmer wants to build the Clippers’ new arena on a parcel of land that sits approximately a mile from the Forum, as Arnovitz notes. The Clippers owner and the city of Inglewood have been engaged in a lengthy legal battle with James Dolan‘s MSG Co. for the last year or two. MSG has taken exception to the city working with the Clippers to develop a new, nearby arena that would be a major competitor for The Forum.
Sources tell ESPN that the two sides began to engage in negotiations about a sale of The Forum following the most recent round of lawsuits by MSG and community groups bankrolled in part by MSG. Arnovitz suggests that a sale looks like the “path of least resistance” when it comes to finding a resolution to the stalemate.
If it’s sold, The Forum would continue to operate until the Clippers’ new arena is ready to open, and perhaps even beyond that, per ESPN. Although sources tell Arnovitz that an agreement is “imminent,” the Clippers wouldn’t confirm or deny the report.
“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,” the team said in a statement. “We are examining every possible way to resolve our differences with Madison Square Garden Co. regarding our new arena.”