A new era for the Clippers

Steve Ballmer will elevate the Clippers to true competition in the Los Angeles market. AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez

The Donald Sterling saga is seemingly near a close, with confirmed reports of a winning bid from Steve Ballmer worth $2.0 billion to purchase the Los Angeles Clippers. It marks the end of a 33-year tenure that has seen more downs than ups; years of inept stewardship, mercurial behavior and a brand that stood for the laughingstock of professional sports. What does new ownership mean for the Clippers?

The purchase price

At $2 billion, the Clippers became the largest sale in professional sports history -- the Clippers! Ballmer ended up paying more than triple what he tried to pay to purchase the Sacramento Kings last year. Several factors play into the inflation of value (not the least of which is the desirability of the Greater Los Angeles area as a market), but none is greater than the simple concept of scarcity. A third of the teams in the league have been sold within the past five years, and half within the past 10 years. With each additional sale, there's one fewer owner willing to sell (after all, the owners bought the teams to fulfill their passion as sports fans, not to flip for a profit immediately), and the remaining unsold franchises rise in value.