The stories about Robertson’s wish list made their way to the league office soon after Leonard made his decision, with concerned parties reporting that Leonard’s uncle had asked pursuing teams for much, much more than a max contract (Kawhi ultimately signed a three-year, $103 million deal with the Clippers). Sources say the league was told that Robertson asked team officials for part ownership of the team, a private plane that would be available at all times, a house and — last but certainly not least — a guaranteed amount of off-court endorsement money that they could expect if Leonard played for their team. All of those items, to be clear, would fall well outside the confines of the league’s collective bargaining agreement. A source with knowledge of the Kawhi-Lakers talks said Robertson made those requests repeatedly to owner Jeanie Buss over the course of three phone calls that spanned several days, and that she made it clear that such perks were illegal and would not be considered.
September 19, 2021 | 5:06 pm EDT Update
Tommy Beer: Oh man… The French Prince Frank Ntilikina says goodbye to New York in a video posted to his Instagram page. getting dusty in here pic.twitter.com/8q8hi6LCsl
September 19, 2021 | 4:26 pm EDT Update
Keith Smith: Jarrell Brantley, who played for the Utah Jazz for the last two season, has signed with BC UNICS in Kazan, Russia. BC UNICS also signed former NBAer O.J. Mayo. Mayo last played in the NBA in in 2015-16 with the Milwaukee Bucks.
September 19, 2021 | 3:08 pm EDT Update
“I’m optimistic about our team,” added Ballmer. “I’m optimistic about our team success, and that optimism is a force multiplier. In many ways, the reason we did this is consistent with that optimism as a force multiplier approach.”
The Clippers owner also paid the town of Inglewood $66.2 million for the land where Intuit Dome will sit. The Clippers will get some of that back, though. Intuit, the software company that makes Turbo Tax, will pay the team more than $500 million for a 23-year naming rights slot. That deal only enhanced Ballmer’s optimism. “This stadium is about being optimistic about our team,” Ballmer said. “It’s about being optimistic about our fans. Get in the building, pump up, make energy,” Ballmer added, clapping his hands. “Your energy can feed our team to greater success.”
The Clippers estimate the Intuit Dome will generate roughly $260 million in annual economic activity for Inglewood, including over 7,000 full-time and part-time jobs. The Clippers also committed to a $100 million community benefits package. “It’s a big market,” Ballmer said. “There’s plenty of fans that can be fans of the Clippers and Lakers. But we want to tell you who we are. I think there are many folks in LA who identify with this notion of being the underdog, the person who strides. It’s almost two LA’s. It’s not all showtime and movie business. Our fans are grinders.”