LOS ANGELES, May 30 (UPI) -- Within hours of Steve Ballmer's record-setting acquisition of the Los Angeles Clippers, speculation has already begun about the if the future of the franchise and whether that future is in Southern California.
For his part, Ballmer has insisted he plans to keep the team in the Staples Center, telling the Wall Street Journal earlier this month, "If I get interested in the Clippers, it would be for Los Angeles."
"I don't work anymore," Ballmer continued. "So I have more geographic flexibility than I did a year, year-and-a half ago. Moving them anywhere else would be value destructive."
Upon acquiring the team, Ballmer maintained the same tone, saying, "I love basketball. And I intend to do everything in my power to ensure that the Clippers continue to win — and win big — in Los Angeles."
As GeekWire notes, this is out-of-step for Ballmer given his recent history with both the NBA and the city of Seattle. The former Microsoft CEO was part of an investment group that tried to keep the SuperSonics in Seattle in 2008 and last year nearly bought the Sacramento Kings for $625 million, publicly stating his intention to move the Kings to Seattle.
Bill Reiter of Fox Sports is quick to point out that Clay Bennett said all the same things when he bought the Seattle SuperSonics before moving them to Oklahoma City.
"It's possible that a man this bright – who surely understands that to bring a team to your hometown you must steal it from another city, just as Clay Bennett stole Seattle's and brought it to Oklahoma City – has decided to use his money and play the long game," wrote Reiter.
"[It's] a fact of life for any location, from Anaheim to Kansas City to Vegas to Virginia to Seattle, that craves an NBA franchise of its own: It's Ownership Darwinism, folks. Only the strong, the brutal, the brave, the lucky and those willing to win at the expense of others are going to survive."