steve ballmer & shelly sterling*Even though TMZ is saying the deal isn’t done, the LA Times is reporting that former Microsoft chief executive Steve Ballmer won a frenetic bidding war for ownership of the Los Angeles Clippers, with his $2-billion offer setting a record price for an NBA team.

Ballmer, who was chief executive of Microsoft for 14 years, was chosen by Shelly Sterling over competitors that included Los Angeles-based investors Tony Ressler and Bruce Karsh and a group that included David Geffen and executives from the Guggenheim Group, the Chicago-based owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers, according to three individuals familiar with the negotiations.

One of the individuals with knowledge of the negotiations said the Geffen group bid $1.6 billion and Ressler at $1.2 billion.

The sale price is almost four times the highest previous NBA franchise sale price — the $550 million paid earlier this month for the Milwaukee Bucks. It is second only to the Dodgers’ 2012 sale for $2.1 billion as the highest price for any sports team in North America.

The tentative deal still must receive the blessing of Donald Sterling, who has waxed and waned on the question of whether he would allow his wife to sell the team he has controlled for more than three decades.

Read/learn MORE at LA Times.