With the departure of DeAndre Jordan this summer, it is officially a new era of Clippers basketball. The entire Lob City core of Jordan, Chris Paul and Blake Griffin is gone, and so too is any hope of competing for a title in the next few years. But that hasn't dimmed Clippers owner Steve Ballmer's enthusiasm for his team.
"I'm fired up tonight," Ballmer said during a recent fan event featuring himself, Clippers president Lawrence Frank and the logo, Jerry West. That, though, is not too surprising, nor is it very notable. What was notable, however, was something Ballmer said later in the night, when he declared the Clippers would move to their own arena in Inglewood, "come hell or high water." Via the Los Angeles Times:
"I love L.A. I also love my wife, by the way, but I love L.A. and I don't want there to be any mistake about it. We want to be part of the fabric of this community," said Ballmer, who stepped down as Microsoft's CEO early in 2014, shortly before he rescued the Clippers from the clutches of disgraced Donald Sterling and bought the franchise for $2 billion.
"We're moving to Inglewood come hell or high water," he said of a proposed arena near the site of the stadium being constructed for the Rams and Chargers. "We gotta have a house. So we're working on a plan to get our own house. We want to get our own house. It turns out the way this works in L.A., which is much beloved to me, that if you start now you might be done in six years."
The Clippers, of course, currently share the Staples Center with their more famous Los Angeles brethren, the Lakers. But due to the fact that they are third in the pecking order in the arena -- behind not only the Lakers, but the NHL's Los Angeles Kings -- the Clippers are given the worst dates and game times.
That might have been one thing when they were the laughingstock of the league, but with Ballmer in charge and pushing to take the team to new heights, he's clearly fed up. This isn't the first time the Clippers moving to their own arena in Inglewood has been suggested, but it's probably the boldest declaration yet by Ballmer that it will one day happen.
When that day will come, however, is almost impossible to know. There are currently no plans in place for the Clippers to move, nor an agreement on a potential stadium nor who would pay for it. So yes, at some point in the future you can probably expect the Clippers to move out of the Staples Center, but just don't be on it being anytime soon.