Former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer has submitted the winning bid for the L.A. Clippers and, if everything stays on track, should buy the franchise for around $2 billion.
Ballmer, who used to stroll the halls of Microsoft with a baseball bat, and to occasionally take it into meetings, won't be able to intimidate people as easily with the Clippers, but it would kind of put him in line with Donald Sterling's tradition of bizarre ownership behavior.
At Microsoft, Ballmer, a burly 6-2, could intimidate people. Good luck trying that with Glen Davis or Blake Griffin.
Ballmer developed quite a reputation as a bully CEO - throwing chairs, cursing with abandon, generally being a jackass.
That said, he'd be a big improvement over Sterling. One assumes he won't be as cheap as Sterling was and that his team will be properly maintained. Donald Sterling once asked then-coach Paul Silas if he really needed a trainer, and suggested that he could probably tape up his players himself.
It's interesting to consider what the Clippers could be like if not handicapped by a cheap, bigoted owner. What will it be like if the team gets a great jet, a la the Mavericks, or gets lavish treatment, like Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen does with his Trailblazers.
Could the Clippers actually become a destination team? We'll see.
Whatever happens, Ballmer is a step up.
Update - Though the bigshots of the NBA and lots of other people were no doubt thrilled to hear that Steve Ballmer has made a significant offer to Shelly Sterling for the Clippers, Donald, as might be expected, isn't making life easy: Thursday night his attorney said "there can be no sale without Donald's signature."
Given his long history of malicious behavior, one can reasonably expect Sterling to screw up a deal which will return around $1.4 billion (after capital gains tax but we have no idea what California taxes would be involved), which makes his original $12 million dollar investment relatively trivial.
Hold the phones - the Sterling Family trust has the right to determine if someone's mental capacity is up to snuff or not and Mr. Sterling is...not.
So if that holds up, Mrs. Sterling will sell the team to Steve Ballmer and the NBA will be done with the Sterlings forever.