Clippers are forced to yield to Kings and Lakers at Staples Center

Clippers owner Steve Ballmer might be cheering from his baseline seat during a win Sunday, but his team is still the third priority at Staples Center.

Clippers owner Steve Ballmer might be cheering from his baseline seat during a win Sunday, but his team is still the third priority at Staples Center.

(Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)

These are the times when Staples Center doesn’t feel quite as hospitable to the Clippers.

Their game against the New Orleans Pelicans on Sunday was their second 12:30 p.m. start in as many days, not exactly the way they would have drawn it up. It’s partly the result of NBA scheduling quirks and partly the result of the Clippers having third priority for dates and times in their own home arena, behind the Kings and Lakers.

“It’s not awful,” Clippers Coach Doc Rivers said before his team rebounded from a flat start for a 114-111 victory in overtime, “but you would love to play the evening game [Sunday]. I don’t mind the back to back, but the smart thing would have been 12:30 [followed by] 7:30.”

The Clippers played before the Kings on Saturday and before the Lakers on Sunday.

Sharing a building occasionally forces the Clippers to hold a makeshift shootaround inside their locker room. That involves taping a simulated free-throw line to the carpet because the court is not available with a changeover from the Kings’ ice configuration.


There was also a game against Milwaukee at Staples Center last month that Rivers tried to move before the schedule became locked in because it was sandwiched between two trips. The NBA could not accommodate the Clippers, Rivers said, because of arena availability.

Having their own building would also allow the Clippers to receive a bigger share of revenue associated with parking and concessions while having more control of signage inside and outside of the facility.

Clippers owner Steve Ballmer acknowledged last summer that the idea of having his own arena was attractive, largely because of concerns over priority.

“We’re third guy in, we have third choice in dates,” Ballmer told The Times’ Bill Plaschke. “If you are a good businessman, you don’t come to the end of your lease and say, ‘I have no options, landlord, please take me to the woodshed and beat me.’ We’ll have options.”

Not for a while. The Clippers’ lease with Staples Center runs through the end of the 2023-24 season.

Back and forth

The Development League shuffle continues for C.J. Wilcox.

The second-year shooting guard rejoined the Clippers on Sunday after being recalled from the Canton (Ohio) Charge, where he had served his second D-League stint of the season after having also played for the Bakersfield Jam.

Wilcox has played in eight games with Canton, seven games with Bakersfield and only one with the Clippers, when he logged one second last month against the Indiana Pacers.

“It’s definitely a challenge,” Wilcox said of the arrangement. “It’s good to play. I think that kind of takes away some of the stress that would normally be there, because you’re actually getting to play and run up and down the floor. But it’s definitely tough going back and forth.”

Rivers said he was pleased with the Clippers’ development of Wilcox, a former first-round draft pick, despite his lack of NBA playing time. Asked whether there was a reason the Clippers had recalled Wilcox, Rivers said, “We like him. We like him around.”

Wilcox may be on the move again soon, though. He said the plan was for him to go back to the D-League in the not-too-distant future.

Twitter: @latbbolch