Clippers take first steps to Inglewood arena while keeping options open
By Bill Oram
PLAYA VISTA – After 18 years spent toiling as Staples Center’s third tenant, fighting for prime game days and times, and playing, until Doc Rivers took over, under the shadow of all those Lakers championship banners, the Clippers on Thursday officially took the first cautious steps to striking out on their own.
The Inglewood City Council approved an exclusive negotiating agreement that will allow the Clippers to explore a new, state-of-the-art arena on a 20-acre parcel south of Century Boulevard at Prairie Avenue; across the street from the 298-acre site of the future home of the Rams and Chargers.
“Seven years may seem like a long way off,” said Gillian Zucker, the Clippers president of business operations, “but we must begin the planning process now to have options when our lease expires at the end of the 2023-24 NBA season.”
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Zucker stressed that Thursday marked the “first day” of the plan and that it is very much in the exploratory stage. The Clippers have three years to develop a plan for a facility, which will include an environmental review.
Assuming the project moves forward, Zucker could not say how much the prospective arena would cost. The terms of the agreement stipulated that the Clippers would pay the city of Inglewood $1.5 million to cover the city’s administrative costs within 24 hours of the council’s approval.
Whether the move to Inglewood ultimately happens, or the Clippers’ aggressive pursuit of a new deal gives them the leverage to negotiate a better arrangement at Staples Center, Zucker reiterated that the Clippers will not leave Los Angeles.
“Steve Ballmer has said […]