Clippers in advanced talks to buy the Forum arena in Inglewood from Madison Square Garden Company, per report

The Los Angeles Clippers have long stood in the Lakers’ shadow as Staples Center co-tenants, but they are apparently close to moving out of the crowded arena. Clippers owner Steve Ballmer is in the “advanced stages” of purchasing the Forum, a 17,505-seat venue in Inglewood, California currently owned by the Madison Square Garden Company, according to ESPN’s Kevin Arnovitz.

As MSG’s chief executive officer, New York Knicks owner James Dolan has legally protested the Clippers’ acquisition of the Forum for over two years. Dolan alleges the city of Inglewood violated an agreement to not promote competition by working with the Clippers and engaged in a “back-room deal” by buying land near the Forum for a technology park.

Realizing the legal standoff was financially detrimental to both sides, Ballmer and MSG have recently entered “substantive” discussions and that a deal is “imminent,” per Arnovitz.

The Forum would serve as the Clippers’ short-term home in Inglewood, a city they have long-term plans in. In 2017, the Clippers purchased 26 acres of land for a new complex just south of Inglewood’s SoFi Stadium, which will house the NFL’s Los Angeles Rams and Los Angeles Chargers next season. The Clippers would play in the Forum until their new arena is complete.

The Clippers issued a statement to ESPN on a landing potential deal:

“The Clippers continue to pursue plans to build a state-of-the-art, 18,000-seat basketball arena and entertainment complex in Inglewood and are currently working with the city to successfully complete the comprehensive Environmental Impact Report. We are examining every possible way to resolve our differences with Madison Square Garden Co. regarding our new arena.”

Since 1999, the Clippers shared the Staples Center with the Lakers and NHL’s Los Angeles Kings. But Ballmer says his team is treated as the “third tenant.” Ballmer says they don’t get the first call on scheduling or an even proceed share on suite and club seats, according to Arnovitz. In 2013, the Clippers signed a 10-year lease extension to stay at the Staples Center through 2024.

Prior to the Staples Center move, the Clippers played in the Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena, which has since been demolished and replaced by Banc of California Stadium. MLS soccer club Los Angeles FC has played in the space since 2018.

Once complete, the Clippers’ “state-of-the-art” new complex would come with essentials like a practice facility and technological additions like augmented reality, per Arnovitz. Ballmer believes the move, which would take its first steps at the Forum, would give Kawhi Leonard, Paul George and Co. a “true home-court advantage.” 

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