Brad Turner: Clippers owner Steve Ballmer will finance …

More on New Clippers Arena

The Clippers could be on the move. And in the process, supplementing the newest Los Angeles entertainment and sports hub and the future home of the Rams and Chargers. According to multiple sources, the Clippers and the city of Inglewood are closing in on entering an Exclusive Negotiating Agreement (ENA) on 22 acres of land between Prairie and Yukon Avenue south of Century Boulevard.
You don’t have to confirm or deny any of this, but I’ve heard rumors about you looking on the West Side for an arena, [or] you’re maybe gonna be involved with the [Stan] Kroenke thing in Inglewood. What is the ideal size of an NBA arena for you if you were building one from scratch? Did you study the Sacramento one? Have you looked at that? Because I think that’s the best one anyone’s built so far. Ballmer: There’s multiple ways to think about an arena.
Representatives of Steve Ballmer and Stan Kroenke, two of the richest owners in professional sports, have had multiple discussions about the Clippers joining the Rams and Chargers in the sports and entertainment district Kroenke is building in Inglewood.
Five people with knowledge of the conversations told The Times the arena could either be on the 298-acre site or an adjacent parcel. Either way, an arena would drive traffic to the planned mixed-use development and share parking with the $2.6-billion football stadium scheduled to open in 2019. The exploratory talks link two titans of sports and business with a sprawling project the NFL already considers transformational.
Inglewood is one of multiple sites the Clippers are exploring in a process that started more than a year ago. The Clippers aren’t settled on a course of action — staying at Staples Center or building a new arena — but the Inglewood discussions are part of their ongoing evaluation of potential options, according to the five people. “It’s too soon to say it would be L.A. Live lite, but if an arena were to bring 200 nights a year, that’s a tremendous amount of foot traffic that would benefit all the ancillary properties,” said a person familiar with the discussions who asked not to be identified in order to speak frankly about the situation.
Storyline: New Clippers Arena
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December 3, 2021 | 8:18 am EST Update
And Wall’s remaining money is significantly more than Walker’s was. For a Wall buyout to make any sense for the Rockets, Wall would likely have to give up even more than Walker did to the Thunder — and there’s next to no chance Wall could make that up in his next deal. At any rate, that hasn’t been seriously discussed by either side as a possibility. “It’s hard for him at this point in time, when your salary doesn’t equal what your production is,” a sympathetic front office person from another team said Wednesday. “That’s hard for him. It’s hard for a lot of guys.”
Storyline: John Wall Buyout?
But executives around the league believe Wall as an unrestricted free agent would have suitors he’d never see if his current deal remains in place. One general manager volunteered the Kyrie Irving-less Nets, in a reserve role behind James Harden, or the Bucks as viable destinations. That is, if Wall were playing for the minimum. “He’s still really good,” another GM with no current need at point guard texted. “Just not at the number he currently makes.”
New Portland Trail Blazers head coach Chauncey Billups questioned his team’s effort after a 114-83 loss to the San Antonio Spurs on Thursday night. The Blazers were without All-Star guard Damian Lillard but still put up little fight against a Spurs team which came into the contest six games below .500. “My biggest concern, I think, at the moment, is I want us to compete harder, man. I want us to compete harder,” Billups said. “I want us to be competitive in every game. And I don’t feel like every night we do that. We don’t. And it concerns me. And I’ve felt that way in a lot of our wins. This is not just after a loss, me saying this.”
“I’m still puzzled,” Wilkins said of his snub. “I remember Shaq telling me, ‘I didn’t deserve to be on this team before you. I was only in the league for a few years. I shouldn’t have been on it.’ I thought that was big of him to say that. I look at guys I competed with, and they know what I brought to the game. The biggest thing was guys like Shaq, Dr. J (Julius Erving), Jordan, Magic (Johnson) all said that it couldn’t be a 50 greatest list without me on it. That meant more to me than someone even selecting me because my peers knew what I brought. “I talked with Clyde Drexler recently, and he said, ‘Nique, you know how pissed we were when you weren’t on there? We knew what you did. You were a one-man wrecking crew and never had a great player to play with. All of us had other players.’ To hear stuff like that from great players, what more can I ask for?”
What gets lost in that story is despite Jordan going off for 61 points, the Hawks won. In the final seconds, Wilkins drained a jumper over Jordan to give the Hawks a lead. The Bulls had a chance to tie or go ahead on the final possession, but Wilkins stopped Jordan on the other end. “Last time I saw Mike I said, ‘Do you remember that happening?’ He goes, ‘I don’t recall it happening.’ I said, ‘Bullshit. Bullshit,’” Wilkins laughed. “Mike and I are good friends. We always respected each other. We lived to compete against each other. I played against a lot of great players, but one guy bought the most out of me, and that was playing against Michael. He’s going to bring it to you, and if you’re not ready to give it back, you already lost. “It was entertainment at the highest level. You’re playing against a killer who wants to win at any cost. Mike was a killer. He wanted to take your heart, but I had the same mentality. I wanted to take the heart of whoever was guarding me.”
Kemba Walker getting benched isn’t his problem, it’s his coach’s … so says Kenny “The Jet” Smith, who tells TMZ Sports the guard is a Ferrari and Tom Thibodeau doesn’t know how to drive it. The 31-year-old hooper was removed from the Knicks rotation earlier this week … as he’s been averaging career lows in almost every major category this season. Once backup Alec Burks came in and balled out with 23 points against the Hawks on Saturday, Thibs decided to pull Walker out of the starting lineup AND the rotation altogether.