With the Lob City era in the rear-view mirror, the Los Angeles Clippers appear to be firmly in the Western Conference's mediocrity bracket ahead of the upcoming season - maybe good enough to reach the playoffs, but little else.
That doesn't mean owner Steve Ballmer plans to blow things up and tank.
"That ain't us. Nuh-uh, no way," Ballmer said at a season-ticket holder event Wednesday, according to the Los Angeles Times' Helene Elliott. "People can do it their way. We're going to be good our way. We're not going to show up and suck for a year, two years. I think we got higher expectations on us than the long, hard five, six years of absolute crap like the (Philadelphia) 76ers put in. How could we look you guys in the eye if we did that to you?"
The Clippers could have upward of $40 million in salary cap space next summer, when the contracts of Tobias Harris and Marcin Gortat - among others - will come off the books. The team figures to be a major player in the Kawhi Leonard free-agency sweepstakes, although there will be plenty of competition from others, including the Lakers.
With that in mind, Ballmer also reiterated his intent to get the Clippers out of sharing Staples Center with the Lakers and into the proposed new arena that's currently being slowed by litigation.
"We're moving to Inglewood come hell or high water," the former Microsoft CEO said. "We gotta have a house. So we're working on a plan to get our own house. We want to get our own house. It turns out the way this works in L.A., which is much beloved to me, that if you start now you might be done in six years."