By Veronica Mackey
L.A. basketball insiders are buzzing about the possibility of yet another professional ball team playing in Inglewood. Word is NBA Clippers owner Steve Ballmer is talking to NFL Rams owner Stan Kroenke about his state-of-the-art, $2.6-billion football stadium currently being built on the old Hollywood Park site. It is scheduled to open in 2019.
Last month, the NFL Chargers reached an agreement with Kroenke to share the new stadium with the Rams. The Clippers currently share L.A.’s Staples Center with the Lakers.
According to reports, Ballmer is a little tired of bowing down to the Lakers legacy. Despite having a better record and better team, it is hard to live down the glory days of Shaq, Kobe and the “three-peat” championships at Staples from 2000-2002
Ballmer is reportedly unhappy with being treated like a stepchild at the Staple Center. According to the Los Angeles Times, being the venue’s third tenant, behind the Lakers and NHL Kings, has put the team in an unfair position. The Clippers have had to practice in their locker room while the ice rink from a previous Kings hockey game was being dismantled.
Sources are speculating that the basketball billionaire may want to build a new arena on the 298-acre site in Inglewood, which will include the stadium, an entertainment venue, retail and office space, restaurants, a hotel, parks and new homes. Some say Ballmer would rather buy the land from Kroenke than be a tenant.
Inglewood Mayor James T. Butts said adding a basketball arena to the development could delay opening the stadium by “18 months to two years.” The City of Inglewood would have to go through a rezoning process and likely require an environmental impact report. “It seems unlikely that the NFL and Rams would do something that would delay the opening date of the stadium,” Butts said.
If the team moves to a new venue, Ballmer would want enough space to also house a training facility, according to ESPN. The Clippers currently lease space at a facility in Playa del Rey.
The Clippers' lease with Staples runs through 2024.
The Lakers played at the Forum, just down the street from where the new NFL stadium is being built, before moving to Staples in 1999. They won five NBA championships there. What about moving to the Forum instead?
Someone with the user name of cygp2 posted this response on LAist.com:
“There is already a basketball arena on site: The Forum. If we are talking about refurbing The Forum again and the Clippers playing there instead of the Lakers, we really are in the weirdest timeline.” Madison Square Garden spent $100 million to renovate the Forum and reopened the venue in 2014.
Another LAist reader named The Sports Dude said this: “If the Clippers move to Inglewood, they could join the Rams and Chargers as teams LA doesn't want. Ballmer should move his team to Seattle.”
“I believe it is unlikely that a basketball arena would be developed on the Hollywood Park site,” Butts said.