And that's maybe or maybe not a good thing for Seattle NBA fans. Shelly, who says she is just business partners with good ole' boy and estranged husband Donald, co-owns the team through a trust. The starting price, speculates ESPN's Bill Simmons:
Hearing the basement for a Clippers offer now starts at 1.8 billion. There is no way they go for less than 2b if it becomes an auction.
— Bill Simmons (@BillSimmons) May 26, 2014
With a net worth valued at more than $20 billion, Ballmer could definitely afford the team, but the chances of the Clippers coming to Seattle are slim. ESPN's Ramona Shelburne reports Shelly's said she'll not sell to someone planning to move the team, and Ballmer himself has said he wouldn't move the team if he bought it.
Confirmed Shelly Sterling mtg with Steve Ballmer today (@TMZ reported).... told she'd never sell to someone who'd move the team tho
— Ramona Shelburne (@ramonashelburne) May 25, 2014
"If Ballmer heads for Los Angeles as a Clippers owner, it effectively ends any NBA role he’d play here and deals a serious blow to [Chris] Hansen’s plan," writes Geoff Baker at Seattletimes.com. And it makes sense. Ballmer's money has been part of Hansen's plan for a while now, and sans the ducats, Hansen would likely have to go partner shopping again. This all raises two questions: 1) Is Ballmer bluffing and ultimately planning to bring the team north, and 2) How many professional basketball teams does California need?
Fun fact: Other potential suitors include Oprah Winfrey, Patrick Soon-Shiong, Floyd Mayweather, Magic Johnson and David Geffen.
Bonus Steve Ballmer video: