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Last year, Vivek Ranadive’s group acquired a 65 percent controlling interest in the Sacramento Kings at a total franchise valuation of more than $534 million.

The bid for the Clippers, purchased by Sterling in 1981 for a little more than $12 million, blew right past those.

It is not Ballmer’s first foray into potential NBA ownership. Ballmer and investor Chris Hansen headed the group that agreed to a deal to buy the Kings from the Maloof family in January 2013 with the intention of moving them to Seattle, where the SuperSonics played until 2008.

But Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson lobbied the NBA for time to put together a bid to keep the team in California, and though the Ballmer-Hansen group later increased its offer, owners voted to deny the bid for relocation and the Kings were sold to Ranadive.

The person with knowledge of the deal said that Ballmer would have to ensure the team remains in Los Angeles.

The former Microsoft CEO helped Bill Gates transform the company from a tiny startup with fewer than 40 employees and $12 million in annual revenue into the world’s most valuable business. The pair met in 1973 while living down the hall from each other at a Harvard dorm.

During his tenure at Microsoft, Ballmer was known for his competitive drive and wild displays of emotion and hand-waving.

At his farewell address to Microsoft employees, he high-fived and hugged audience members, pumped his fists in the air, and even shed tears as the popular 1987 song “(I’ve Had) The Time of My Life” played on the sound system. In a video of the event widely viewed on YouTube, he screams: “You work for the greatest company in the world!”