Since 1999, the Staples Center has served as a home for three of Los Angeles’ professional sports teams: the Lakers, Clippers and Kings. Because of the Lakers’ history, the Clippers have always been treated as second-class citizens in their building, with less control over things like scheduling and sponsorship revenue. So they’re doing something about it. ESPN.com’s Kevin Arnovitz reports that Clippers owner Steve Ballmer is looking into locations for a new arena in the Los Angeles area.
Clippers owner Steve Ballmer has begun to explore potential sites for a new Clippers arena, multiple NBA sources said.
The Clippers would neither confirm nor deny they are actively searching for a location, but one NBA source said that an area that piques the franchise’s interest is Los Angeles’ westside.
Sources with knowledge of the Clippers’ lease agreement said that, in many regards, the team operates as Staples Center’s “third tenant,” a condition that’s becoming increasingly tiresome to the organization. The Clippers receives a smaller share of proceeds from suites and club seats than the Lakers and Kings, according to sources, and a lesser say in scheduling and the overall fan experience at the arena.
In recent years (namely since Doc Rivers took over as head coach and president in 2013), the Clippers have taken steps to make themselves appear more respectable within the confines of the arena. During their home games, they cover up the Lakers’ many championship banners and retired numbers with banners depicting their own players. But as long as they share a building with the Lakers, they’ll never truly be able to make it their own, and things are going to get awkward once their current core is retired and the Clippers have to fight to build a statue, say, of Chris Paul or Blake Griffin outside, or hang one of their jerseys in the rafters. Having their own arena will give them total control over those sorts of things.
The Clippers have plenty of time to make this happen. Their Staples Center lease expires in 2024, and Arnovitz’ report indicates that they wouldn’t try to move to a different building without playing out the lease. So they’re in no rush to pick out a location or hammer out the logistical details.