LOS ANGELES--The day before the Los Angeles Clippers announced plans to explore building an arena in Inglewood, business mogul Irving Azoff floated an idea to Los Angeles Lakers owner Jeanie Buss and top adviser Linda Rambis about a move that could undercut the Clippers and prompt a seismic shift in the Los Angeles sports landscape.
"Heres my dream," Azoff emailed Buss and Rambis on June 14, 2017. "Rebuild the forum from scratch. Lakers plus music. boom."
The Lakers now say that vision won't be realized, and they are believed to be discussing an extension to their Staples Center lease that runs through the 2024-25 season.
"MSG approached the Lakers about the possibility of returning to the Forum following the end of our Lease at Staples Center in 2025, but nothing came from the discussions," the team said Wednesday in a statement.
But the emails obtained by the Los Angeles Times reveal the depth of the business competition between L.A.'s two NBA teams, and that Buss didn't hesitate to discuss a move that would have left Staples Center -- and downtown Los Angeles -- without its marquee tenant.
Buss responded a half-hour later to the email from Azoff, who has close business ties with the Forum and its owner, Madison Square Garden Co., the New York-based sports and entertainment giant.
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"I think about the vision you and (wife) Shelli had when you re-imagined the Forum and how you made it happen," Buss wrote. "I believe you can do anything."
Rambis chimed in: "That's an incredible dream count me in!"
The Forum was home to the Lakers starting in 1967, after the franchise played seven seasons at the Sports Arena following the 1960 move from Minneapolis. The team won six NBA championships at the Forum before moving to Staples Center in 1999.
The emails are among tens of thousands of documents produced during discovery in MSG's lawsuit against Inglewood in L.A. County Superior Court over the potential Clippers arena. MSG claims Inglewood Mayor James T. Butts Jr. tricked the company into terminating its lease to use city-owned land for parking in order to clear the way for the arena. The mayor denies the allegation.