After the 2002-03 season, Anthony Carter, then 27, was …

After the 2002-03 season, Anthony Carter, then 27, was planning to exercise a $4.1 million player option to remain in Miami. Picking up the option was a no-brainer. Carter was coming off a disappointing season in which he averaged 4.1 points on .356 shooting in 49 games. For a player with that stat line, $4.1 million was a fortune. Except Carter’s agent, Bill Duffy, failed to notify the Heat by the June 30 deadline that Carter was coming back. Instead of locking in another season in Miami, Carter accidentally became a free agent.
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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.”
Storyline: New Clippers Arena
Ballmer has also displayed his willingness to spend on talent. Next season, the Clippers will spend $166 million per season on player contracts, the third highest in the NBA. That brings an $88 million luxury tax bill and includes paying stars Kawhi Leonard and Paul George an average annual value of $44 million per season until 2025. Those two deals will expire a year after the Intuit Dome is scheduled to open. Asked to reveal the most challenging thing to deal with as a sports owner, Ballmer responded: “Injuries – they happen. We had an injury to Kawhi, and with this injury, we’re not sure how long he’s going to be out this year.”
Ballmer, 65, entered a conference room at the Clippers downtown LA office, having conducted over four interviews, with more on his schedule. The discussion with CNBC lasted a little over 15 minutes, covering various topics from the arena and his previous life in business. Powell’s words helped explain the optimism around Ballmer’s vision for the Clippers, starting with the Intuit Dome. “You have to be optimistic to take on a huge project when you don’t start with land,” Ballmer said. “Putting the land together is quite the circus of legal issues, resolutions. We had to buy the Forum as part of that process. You have to keep your optimism.”
Storyline: New Clippers Arena
Ballmer was referring to the $400 million in cash he paid Madison Square Garden Company, the previous owner of the Forum. The Lakers played there from 1967-1999, and the building mainly hosts concerts today. Ballmer needed to resolve legal issues with MSG, who complained Ballmer’s new arena would damage the Forum’s income. MSG purchased the Forum for $23.5 million in 2012 and cashed out in 2020, thanks to Ballmer.