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Could Ballmer's Deal Fall Through? Could the Panthers Leave Florida?

Attorney for Steve Ballmer raises the possibility of the Clippers purchase falling through if things drag out in court. Also, a county in Florida may want to send the Panthers packing.

A handshake is a handshake?
A handshake is a handshake?
Jeff Gross

Some interesting stories surfaced today with potential ramifications for Seattle in both the NBA and the NHL.


Donald Sterling may eventually have to go away, but he's not going quietly. According to a lawyer for Steve Ballmer, this could completely derail his client's purchase of the Los Angeles Clippers.

At a hearing to set rules for the rest of Sterling's court case against Shelly Sterling, attorney Adam Streisand begged the judge to rule quickly after the scheduled conclusion of the case on July 28. The Star Tribune reported on Streisand's testimony. Here is a passage from their article.

He said the final deadline for closing the deal with former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer was extended by a month, but "the deal ends on Aug. 15."

A month later, the NBA can seize the team and sell it at auction, Streisand said.

So, if there's not a decision by August 15, there could be a new dose of chaos injected into the Clippers situation and, by osmosis, our situation in Seattle. The deal could fall through and no one knows what would happen after that.

Would Ballmer blow away the competition one more time in an auction for the team? Would he say forget this and rejoin Chris Hansen's effort in Seattle?

It's impossible to say right now.

If there's one rule of thumb we should be aware of by now, however, it's that the NBA usuallly gets what it wants. My guess is that the judge will rule against Mr. Sterling just in time to salvage the deal.

As you all know, however, I've been wrong before.

NOTE: Matt Tucker contributed to this report. Ok, you got me. I basically stole it from him.


According to, officials in Broward County, Florida have hired a consultant to determine if the county would be better off to simply release the NHL's Florida Panthers. Here's a passage.

While the Florida Panthers continue to seek help from Broward County officials in regards to annual rent and their share of the $250-million debt on their home arena, the BB&T Centre, Mayor Barbara Sharief tweeted Thursday that officials have hired a consultant to look into the feasibility of allowing the Panthers to get out of their lease and move the team elsewhere:

As per La Presse, the Panthers have been asking for an $80-million rent reduction on their lease at the BB&T Center, with their share of the arena's debt funded by a $4.5 million a year "tourist tax." The funds from this tax, however, have already been set aside for the revitalization of beaches and tourism promotions.

Can anyone think of a place that would like to have an NHL team? Of course, such a place would have to have an arena solution in place.


This one comes from our own Chris Meirose, who just said to me "Ballmer could have an arena, NBA team, and an NHL team in Seattle for $2 billion."