Steve Ballmer Rumors
The most likely scenario, league sources say, remains Leonard opting out to re-sign with the Clippers — or, in Steve Ballmer’s worst nightmare, to shock the league by signing elsewhere. Leonard’s well-known affinity for Southern California has led various rival front offices to presume that he would have no interest in switching teams for the third time, but the notion that Leonard is unattainable seems to be waning a bit as the Aug. 2 start of free agency nears.
Los Angeles Clippers owner Steve Ballmer is now worth $100 billion. The former Microsoft CEO can claim the title of world’s richest sports team owner due to a surge in tech stock prices that’s lifted many wealthy individuals to even greater heights. Ballmer passes Mukesh Ambani, owner of cricket’s Mumbai Indians, who ranked first with a net worth of $84.5 billion as recently as April. With $20 billion in asset growth just this year, Ballmer is one of nine people in the $100 billion club.
Glimpses of the Clippers’ real-world financial results show the business has often been profitable. Those include audited financials disclosed in a Bank of America report just before Ballmer bought the team, as well as NBA records that were leaked after he became owner. But IRS records obtained by ProPublica show the Clippers have reported $700 million in losses for tax purposes in recent years. Not only does Ballmer not have to pay tax on any real-world Clippers profits, he can use the tax write-off to offset his other income.
Leaked NBA records during Ballmer’s tenure showed the Clippers in the black as recently as 2017. Audited financials disclosed in the Bank of America report just before the sale showed the team netting $14 million and $18 million in the two years before Ballmer took over, with projected growth in the future. Tax records for the pre-Ballmer era examined by ProPublica showed the team consistently making millions in profits. Forbes has also estimated the team generates millions in annual profits. Nevertheless, Ballmer reported staggering losses from the Clippers to the IRS. Those losses allowed him to reduce the taxes he owed on the billions he has reaped from Microsoft stock sales and dividends. Owning the Clippers cut his tax bill by about $140 million in just five years, according to a ProPublica analysis.
For the prior year, Ballmer reported making $656 million. The dollar figure he paid in taxes was large, $78 million; but as a percentage of what he made, it was tiny. Records reviewed by ProPublica show his federal income tax rate was just 12%. That’s a third of the rate LeBron James paid, even though Ballmer made five times as much as the superstar player.
Patrick Beverley is open to a contract extension discussion with the Clippers, a league source told HoopsHype. I’m told Beverley loves playing in LA with the Clippers. He’s a big fan of Steve Ballmer as an owner, and that Lawrence Frank has been great to Pat and his family… Heading into next season, Beverley is owed $14.3 million in the final year of his contract… Within the next couple of months, he’s going to be heading down to Houston with one of his trainers, Aaron Miller, and they’re going to get to work. We’ll see if he gets to work on his game as well as a new contract with the Clippers.