NBA

A Breakdown of How Steve Ballmer Pays the LA Clippers

When LA Clippers owner Steve Ballmer bought the team, it seemed to be the right move to get the franchise out from underneath the dark cloud of its former owner. Ballmer brought excitement to a franchise overlooked in the City of Angels. Let’s look at how he pays his LA Clippers.

How Steve Ballmer bought and pays for his Clippers

After Donald Sterling was forced to sell the team, Ballmer took the chance to purchase the Clippers. After failed attempts at buying the Seattle Supersonics and Sacramento Kings, he paid Sterling $2 billion to become the majority owner. And it brought about optimism and energy to the team.

Ballmer has made the Clippers into one of the league’s best teams. It began with two major moves during the 2019 NBA free agency period, details Spotrac. The team made a trade for Paul George after a free agency visit from Kawhi Leonard. Leonard expressed his desire to play with another superstar. He would commit his future to the franchise if a deal was made. 

Bringing in arguably the two best perimeter defenders in the NBA, the Clippers payroll has skyrocketed as they chase an NBA championship. Let’s break down the key contracts in LA.

The highest-paid Clippers players

Clippers owner Steve Ballmer with Paul George and Kawhi Leonard
Clippers owner Steve Ballmer with Kawhi Leonard and Paul George in 2019 | Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

Paul George, $33 million

After trading for George, the Clippers took on the rest of the supermax contract he signed after the 2017-18 season. George made $33 million this year and is owed $73 million for the next two seasons. His first year with the Clippers has been at an All-Star level. The 30-year-old has averaged 21 points, five rebounds, and five assists per game.

Kawhi Leonard, $32 million

After a remarkable season in Toronto — the Raptors won the NBA Championship and Leonard earned his second NBA Finals MVP award —Kawhi Leonard joined the “other” team in Los Angeles. By doing so, he passed on the opportunity to play with LeBron James.

Leonard signed a three-year, $103 million contract with Ballmer’s team. So far, he’s been worth the money and then some. The Clippers were the No. 2 seed in the West while Leonard averaged over 28 points per game during the regular season.

Marcus Morris, $15 million

Marcus Morris was acquired before the trade deadline. While he’s got a hefty price tag at $15 million, the key contributor puts up 10 points and four rebounds per game. Morris’s contract is expiring at the end of the season. He’ll likely have plenty of suitors if he performs in a deep playoff run. 

Bargain deals for key contributors

Lou Williams, $8 million

Lou Williams has been one of the most consistent sixth men ever in the league. He has an opportunity to win it again this season. He is averaging 18 points per game and isn’t a free agent until the end of the 2020-21 season. So he should have another banner year for the Clippers if he can stay healthy.

Montrezl Harrell, $6 million

Another candidate to win the NBA Sixth Man of the Year award is forward Montrezl Harrell. Harrell should earn a max contract after putting up 18 points and seven rebounds per game off the bench. The Clippers will have roughly $23 million coming off the books, but they may have to let Harrell walk to round out their roster.

The most controversial Clippers contract

Patrick Beverley, 3 years at $39 million

The reason we think this contract is controversial is because of the length, and Beverley’s age. He will be 35 at the end of this contract and while he is still a good perimeter defender, the Clippers will probably have to address the position during the upcoming offseason.