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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on February 26, 2006 5:25 PM. The previous post in this blog was Potter hospitalized. The next post in this blog is Ding, dong... er, maybe she's not dead. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

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Sunday, February 26, 2006

Let's get real about the Blazers

A year ago about this time, I suggested that the Portland Trail Blazers were for sale. Their owner, Paul Allen, had obviously lost interest in the team, and this indicated to me that he wouldn't be owning it for much longer.

Now comes his utterly ridiculous attempt to get public subsidies, and maybe it is turning out that I was right. There's obvious desperation in the latest move, which is being conducted with typical Allen ham-handedness. Mr. Bilionaire thinks his thinly veiled threats are going to enflame the team's fan base and get him a deal of some kind from Salem or City Hall. The problem is that he's so alienated that base that there are nowhere near enough fans left to generate any meaningful heat.

Let's face it, it's going nowhere. Public sentiment against a taxpayer bailout of the Blazers seems to be running about 9 to 1, and so DOS Boy ought to have his minions drop that one right now. Paul, old buddy, get real. It ain't gonna happen, so forget about it.

The fact that he's even asking for it shows you what a serious reality disconnect this fellow has. It's a weird, weird little world he's in, and never has such a misfit person inspired so little sympathy.

Which means only one of two things can happen: Allen can either sell the Blazers or move them. The former would be preferable for Portland, of course, but the latter wouldn't be so bad for most of the population. Within three or four years, the league would have another team here. And given the motley crew that's been assembled on the current Blazer roster, they're going to be lousy for the next three or four years anyway. I'd take an expansion-type team three years from now, if it meant parting company with the current expansion-type team plus Allen now.

Except for the obvious hit to the livelihoods of the people who make a living around Blazer games, I think it might be good for Portland to have a few years without a major league sport in town. We can all see what it feels like not to have it here, and decide how badly we want it.

There are other possibilities, but none seem realistic. The Blazers could genuinely rebuild, improve, and become an inspiration again in the short term. Unlikely. Or they could continue to muddle along, hemorraging money, stinking up the league, and endangering the safety of their Portland neighbors. I think the word from the yacht is that that's not going to happen.

So it's sell it or move it. Sell it to whom? Beats me. Nike's too smart to get involved in that business, and as I've said here several times, the only local people I know of who could do a decent job of it would be the McMenamins.

Move it to where? I'm sure there's some other town somewhere that would like a Paul Allen franchise with all its glitz and latent loserdom. Maybe Las Vegas.

(Note: Time stamps on the comments for this post were changed in a server migration.)

Comments (19)

If Allen moves the team, another team will move to Portland. We have a new stadium, which Allen does not control. I think Portland is the 25th largest city in the USA, and the NBA has about 30 teams.

Jack,

I am about to go the Blazer game. I sit close enought to the tunnel where Paul enters and leaves to yell at him and to be heard. That raises two questions. (1) What would you yell at Paul? (2) Would that get you thrown out or banned from future games?

End to nice week Joel?

I'd go with something like, "You're kidding, right?"

Granted I'm a life-long Blazer fan, but I think it would be bad for Portland if the Blazers were moved... even if another team would find it's way here in 5-10 years. Look at the Cleveland Browns, not the same after they left and got their old name thrown on an expansion team.

The town should pipe up, "Paul we love our Blazers, despite how we feel about how it has been managed... but we can't help ya, pal. Please don't move the team." Our feelings about the current situation shouldn't detract from the fact that the Blazers are a part of Portland's DNA. Every team waxes and wanes, and we've had a better go of it than most NBA teams historically. We're still digging out.

Let 'em go.

I love basketball. Love it. I'm not a Blazer fan but I go to a game here and there. I also try to catch a game in Seattle on occasion. If PA & Co. decide they want to threaten us like this, I say show 'em the door. He's really living in a dreamworld if he thinks we're going to bail him out on this. It's not as if we don't have other priorities like, oh say, schools.

Besides, it's not as if we would never see another game again. Like Jack said, we'd probably get another team in a few years. Seattle isn't too far. And there's always LeaguePass!!!

Seems like they're just going through the motions so they'll be able to say that they asked the locals to step up but it didn't happen and now the franchise is for sale. Joel, I'd ask him if he's tried talking to the PDC. Personally I don't care if they stay as I've never bought into the idea that they were in the class of a "public good" and deserved any type of taxpayer funded assistance.

Maybe Nate McMillan will end up coaching in Seattle again, after the Sonics bail and the Blazers head north.


Seattle can't handle two NBA teams, but the current Sonics management also has its hand out, as I understand it. Maybe the two cities could just switch owners.

Another possibility would be to have the plaintiffs in the Catholic priest sex abuse scandals get the Blazers, in exchange for Allen taking a couple of churches. You could just consolidate the bankruptcy proceedings.

Of course, Jack's opinion on this is REALLY just about clearing the way for Major League Baseball coming to town. ;)

I like the sound of pro hockey in the Rose Garden.

So long, Paul! Don't let the door hit ya!

The way it's going we might have to convert the Rose Garden into the biggest packed classroom ever and just have one teacher addressing them on the PA system. "Okay, kids, look up at the electronic scoreboard for your homework assignment."


I think it would make a great homeless shelter/transitional housing.

How about "Pottersville" for a marquee name?


What the Blazers really need is a better mascot. Blaze?! The official line is that he's a cross between a cat and a dog. A good mascot offends. We need "beer and coffee man", or "slacker Joe".

Seriously, though, the franchise has given us most of what the community asked for: They traded in Trader Bob for the smarmy and ineffective Patterson+Nash. Rasheed and Bonzi are out. They've shown a willingness to continue to pay big salaries, albeit to mediocre players. McMillan was a great choice.

The arena experience remains horrible. Hopelessly homogenized and inaccessible. The TV broadcasts are a little better, but there's no sense of place or the moment. Doesn't feel like a local team when you're there. There's nothing "Portland" about going to a game.

I don't think this organization is that far away from turning the corner. They need to:

* Put an accessible, non-focus group tested face on the franchise. Nash+Patterson don't cut it.
* Get a good draft pick and a player with authentic nationwide buzz. Chris Paul, anyone?
* Admit that they've F-ed up the last few years
* The arena and TV experience can't blow chunks anymore.

Will it happen? Nah, probably not with Allen, but it's pretty easy to see what's needed. People in this town want to like the team. When we get tired of selling each other houses and going to the wine bar, maybe we'll even attend a game or two.

I'm especially frustrated with the sloppy coverage in the O about this issue. No one will answer the obvious questions: Can the Blazers legally move the team? Would the NBA permit it? If not, how bad does Allen still want to win?

Paul Allen was not at the game tonight. I will let you know if he shows up in the future.


I grew up here.

I was a Buckaroos fan. We were a farm team for Detroit, I believe. I think NHL could go over real well around here. That'd be winter sport and we could get a decent AAA team (the Beavers?) and prove we can support a major league baseball team - I don't think we have it in us. We need an indoor spectator sport to watch during the rainy season. Otherwise, many of us like to be outdoors when the weather is nice...like during baseball season. Hiking around the bleachers ain't my idea of fun.

By the way. If NHL comes here, I want to see hockey, not fisticuffs. Finesse is where it's at, not pugilism. I'd pay money to see NHL hockey (without any public subsidy whatsoever).

Just my 2 pence.


How about directing Stumptown's energies to a real sports team that has:

-affordable ticket prices

-a chance at a championship

-an energized fan base

-thirsty Thursdays.

Money spent at the Timbers is money well spent. Drop by The Bullpen tavern after a game and there's at 50+% chance that one or more of the players will show up and *gulp* actually talk to fans.

Oh... And as for the NBA. I'm a short, wide, uncoordinated guy. I find difficult to identify.

Careening into the sideboards on skates I can understand.

It would send a very strong message if the City simply waived the 2025 contract right now.

Paul,

Recognizing that you don't feel like you owe Portland's fans any loyalty, find attached an official waiver to your "play in Portland until 2025" contract with Mayor Katz, together with a City Ordinance rescinding said contract.

Let us know if we can do anything else for you!

-Warm regards,

Mayor Tom Potter


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