According to a Forbes source, former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer has offered a bid of $1.8 billion to buy the L.A. Clippers. But don't get your hopes up, Seattle.
Ballmer has tried and failed before to bring the NBA back to Seattle, but in an interview with the Wall Street Journal earlier this month, he said Clippers fans shouldn't worry about losing their team if he ends up in charge.
Ballmer: I love basketball, and I'd love to participate at some point in the NBA. If the opportunity is outside of Seattle, so be it. I will learn about any team that comes up for sale at this point.
WSJ: So you wouldn't move the Clippers to Seattle?
Ballmer: If I get interested in the Clippers, it would be for Los Angeles. I don't work anymore, so I have more geographic flexibility than I did a year, year-and-a half ago. Moving them anywhere else would be value destructive.
And that value! $1.8 billion is an insane figure—it would be the second-highest purchase price ever for a North American sports franchise, let alone one that's a distant, distant second in popularity even in its own building. But it's reportedly not out of line with the other bids, which have been coming in this week after the Sterlings haltingly decided to sell. Forbes says the bids have been between one and two billion.
This could, of course, all be bullshit. It's in the Sterlings' and the NBA's best interests to drive up the price of the Clippers. But it does seem clear that the increased attention and public bidding war that only occurred because of Donald Sterling's self-immolation are going to leave him a much wealthier man than he would have been otherwise.