Since 1999, the Los Angeles Lakers have shared their NBA home, Staples Center, with the Los Angeles Clippers. It appears that “hallway rivalry” could gain a little distance, according to Kevin Arnovitz and Marc Stein of ESPN, who reported on Wednesday that the team has “begun to investigate potential new arena sites in L.A.”
How this would affect the Lakers, if it affects them very much at all, is not immediately clear. Other than the Clippers covering up the Lakers’ banners when they play their home games, there isn’t a ton of overlap between the two teams despite their proximity.
One aspect that could be affected, however, is making it easier for the NBA schedulers when trying to determine both team’s schedules if they no longer play in the same building. This could lead to fewer back-to-backs or shorter road trips in some cases for both teams as the NBA makes an increased effort to alleviate their schedule of both.
Update: Arnovitz noted the Clippers’ possible motivations for a move on Twitter:
Upcoming LAC arena story: Motivations (1) Real Estate play (2) Rev. streams (suites, club seats) (3) Control destiny. (4) Cool tech features— Kevin Arnovitz (@kevinarnovitz) July 27, 2016
Site exploration might be a leverage play, but I don't think Ballmer will ever get what he wants in an arena owned/operated by someone else.— Kevin Arnovitz (@kevinarnovitz) July 27, 2016
2 challenges for LAC: (1) Developing in LA is painstaking. (2) AEG & MSG (which owns Forum) could make things difficult for competing venue.— Kevin Arnovitz (@kevinarnovitz) July 27, 2016
Plus, Arnovitz revealed that the Clippers are essentially seen as a “third tenant” at Staples Center, additional motivation to move to a place where they would receive priority:
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 2015, Ballmer told the Los Angeles Times, "We're third guy in, we have third choice in dates. If you are a good businessman, you don't come to the end of your lease and say, 'I have no options, landlord, please take me to the woodshed and beat me.' We'll have options."
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