Microsoft executive to buy Clippers for US$2b
Steve Ballmer, the former CEO of Microsoft, is set to buy the Los Angeles Clippers for a staggering US$2 billion (NZ$2.35 billion), according to the LA Times.
The one-time software company executive is understood to have offered significantly more for the NBA franchise than two rival bidding groups, who reportedly tabled offers of US$1.6 billion and US $1.2 billion respectively.
If the deal goes through, it will eclipse the previous record sale price of an NBA franchise by nearly four times.
Earlier this month, the Milwaukee Bucks were purchased for US$550 million.
The sale of baseball franchise, the Los Angeles Dodgers, in 2012 for US$2.1 billion, however, remains the most paid for any sports team in North America.
News of Ballmer's likely purchase of the Clippers comes at a time when the lawyer for disgraced owner Donald Sterling said his client was prepared to sue the NBA if it went ahead with action to strip the club from him.
Sterling was handed a life ban by the NBA after a recording capturing him making disparaging racist remarks was posted on gossip website TMZ in April.
Maxwell Blecher, speaking on the same day as news of Ballmer's staggering bid emerged, said Sterling wants to hear from the league before a scheduled hearing with the board of governors next Wednesday.
At that meeting, Sterling's fellow 29 owners are due to vote on whether to force him to rescind his ownership of the Clippers.
"The league on Tuesday (Wednesday NZT) has a guillotine over Mr Sterling's head," Blecher told AFP.
"They will confiscate his team illegally and, if they don't want a lawsuit challenging that conduct, they need to let us know before Tuesday.
"Thus far, we have heard nothing."
The 29 NBA franchise owners would also need to approve any potential sale of the franchise.