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.)