Chris Hansen still optimistic about Seattle basketball as Ballmer dreams big for Clippers

Jun 3, 2014, 6:18 AM | Updated: 7:30 am
According to Chris Hansen, partners are far easier to come by than NBA teams. (AP Photo/File)...
According to Chris Hansen, partners are far easier to come by than NBA teams. (AP Photo/File)
(AP Photo/File)

Chris Hansen refuses to be anything but optimistic.

Despite the loss of a billionaire, the hedge fund manager is not giving up on the idea of bringing the NBA back to his hometown.

“We’ll certainly miss him as part of our ownership group, there’s no questions about that, in addition to his financial wherewithal,” Hansen told KING 5 of former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer’s withdrawal from his group of investors aiming to bring professional basketball back to Seattle.

Hansen said he’s a great guy and his skills as a successful businessman will be missed as a part of their partnership.

But according to Hansen, there is an upside in Ballmer’s new ownership of the Los Angeles Clippers: He believes Ballmer will advocate for Seattle on the NBA Board of Governors.

“I think the pluses are, obviously, having Steve Ballmer as one of the 30 owners,” Hansen said. “I’m pretty optimistic that Steve will be one of the great advocates for the return of basketball to Seattle.”

Partners are easier to find than a team, according to Hansen. “I think finding a new team, or securing a new franchise for Seattle is far and away my greatest concern – not finding partners.”

Meanwhile, Ballmer is settling into his role as owner of the Clippers. As he told The Los Angeles Times, ‘so far, so good,’ but he is setting some very lofty goals for the team and himself – on the court and off.

“I want to win a championship. I’d love the Clippers to be the most dynamic, vibrant team and name in professional sports,” he said. “But I’ve got a lot to learn.”

Former owner Donald Sterling is banned for life from entering the Staples Center, but Ballmer said Sterling’s wife, Shelly, may still be seen courtside at games to come.

Ballmer’s agreement to pay $2 billion for the Clippers has some financial analysts questioning his business wisdom.

The price tag is fifteen times the annual revenue generated by the team. That’s a multiple three times higher than has ever been paid before for an NBA team.

The previous high was the five times the annual revenue paid for the Washington Wizards back in 2010.

The Clippers price tag eclipsed even that of the Los Angeles Dodgers, despite the fact that they generate double the annual revenue.

MyNorthwest.com’s Alyssa Kleven contributed to this report.

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Chris Hansen still optimistic about Seattle basketball as Ballmer dreams big for Clippers