The Franchise Nike Money Can’t Buy

There is movement around the Portland Trail Blazers, a team at a tricky sports crossroads in which they have to decide where to go with Damian Lillard. Everything indicates that the base will continue in the team, but both parties are less and less clear about their relationship after a season that ended in disaster with tanking end (33-49) and from which the Oregon franchise has come out with the number 3 of the next draft. Lillard does not want reconstructions or more young starlets, so it is normal for the Blazers to squeeze their options of obtaining a truly differential player with a transfer of their pick. Some, however, do not hide that the it was lillard (32 years, eleven franchise) could be exhausted and that the most correct way would be to transfer the point guard in a mega operation from which a new project would emerge with which to revitalize a franchise that hasn’t reached the NBA Finals since 1992.

But the tide is not only sports: Jody Allen, who has been the owner since the death of his brother Paul, a victim of cancer in 2018, does not want to sell the franchise, something that in theory he should do fulfilling the wish of Paul, co-founder of Microsoft that took over the Blazers in 1988 and also owned the Seattle Seahawks in the NFL. There is a great candidate to win the team: Phil Knight, founder and CEO of Nike (whose headquarters are also in Oregon). Knight and Alan Smolinsky, whose fortune comes from real estate, made more than a year ago an offer to Allen of about 2,000 million dollars that was immediately rejected.

Now an article from Wall Street Journal reveals that the movements do not stop and that Knight and Smolinsky are looking for ways to convince Allen. They would have assured him that they are aware that in these times (the Suns have just been sold for about 4,000 million) franchise prices are skyrocketing and they would be willing to fit your offer. That is, to raise it remarkably. But the answer is still negative. Fuck Allen does not get on the phone with Knight and did not reply to a letter written by hand by Smolinsky, who sought to bring positions closer. The response was an email from a company account that stressed that Paul Allen’s equipment “is not for sale.” And about his brother’s desire to sell, the answer is always that no deadlines were set. And Jody Allen would have suggested that things could go on for a long time: “Such complex assets sometimes take twenty years to transfer”.

The fans, meanwhile, are concerned. In 2025, the original agreement to operate the pavilion, Moda Center, ends, one of the oldest without remodeling in the NBA. That is always a point of conflict between the cities and the teams, or usually is, especially when dealing with renovations, reforms or new constructions. Basically, who pays for the party. A problem that has led to the transfer of historical franchises, as they saw in Portland with the neighboring Supersonics, now the OKC Thunder. A lot of fans would want Knight to take the reins because He is born in Portland and in his plans is to ensure that the Blazers “never move” from the state of Oregon. In addition, his group sells the idea that they will invest to make the Blazers a contender for the title in the most sustained way possible and they will reform the pavilion and the surroundings (the business for Smolinsky) with the idea of ​​transforming the match experience of the fans. But Allen does not sell, and he only thinks “of having competitive teams that aspire to the ring.” Both the Blazers and the Seahawks.

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