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Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Blazer soap opera update

When I was at the Trail Blazer game last week, I asked two of the guys pouring beer what they thought of the prospect of team owner Paul Allen buying back the Rose Garden arena, which he had previously abandoned to the people who hold the mortgage on the building. They both gave it a thumbs-down.

"You mean the guy who put us into bankruptcy?" asked the one. "We're not supposed to talk about him," said the other. "We're not even supposed to look at him."

Did you ever notice that the women who sit next to Allen at the games never look at him, either? Much less speak with him. What a socially maladjusted guy, with a business acumen to match.

Anyway, nervous nellies here in Portland have been noting for a while that the Seattle NBA team, the Sonics, is now owned by Oklahoma investors. And since the team that's currently thriving in Oklahoma City is destined to return to its home in New Orleans at some point, these Blazer fans worry that the Sonics will get moved to Oklahoma, and then Allen will jerk the Blazers out of Portland and ship them to his home turf, Seattle.

Part of the angst has revolved around the facts that the Sonics want out of the old facility in which they're currently playing -- the Key Arena -- and that the voters of Seattle don't seem interested in paying for either a rehab of that arena or a new building for pro basketball.

Which brings us to today's news. It's sort of like a mid-week episode on a soap opera: Some people are taking off some clothes, but not a whole lot is happening in terms of plot advancement. Up in Seattle, it was announced today that the Sonics management has "selected" a site for a new half-billion-dollar hoops palace in Renton -- favoring that locality over Bellevue.

If the new arena really does get built, the Sonics will stay in the Seattle area, and the Blazers are that much more likely to remain here in Portland. But there's still no solid plan for financing the Sonics coliseum, and so we're still a long way from saying that the Blazers couldn't possibly hit the road.

Sure, if Allen buys the Rose Garden back (still officially an "if" at this point), it would also help keep the Blazers here. But the guy was crazy enough to own the team without the arena -- you can't tell me he isn't nuts enough to own the arena without an NBA team in it, at least temporarily. He's done much, much screwier things than that.

Comments (13)

There is no way the Washington legislature is going to give a dime to the Sonics.

Morgan, please get your own blog. A dozen comments a day here is too many.

On the substance, I think they want money from the county and the city, not the state.

I'll go away for awhile after this, but you're wrong, I've been following this for sometime and they have a bill in front of the legislature. Read the Seattle Times tonight/tomorrow.

Whatever. They want more than half the money -- $250 million -- from the county.

From today's Oregonian:

King County would cover much of the cost -- $423 million -- by extending tax measures now in place to pay for Qwest Field and Safeco Field.

the Seattle P-I had it worded this way:

'Bennett (SONICS OWNER) told the Senate Ways and Means Committee that he expects the public to provide most of the financing -- $300 million from the state, about $100 million from the city of Renton -- and that most of the money from the facility should go to the team.'

he also goes on to say:

'Bennett said his time and the $350 million the Oklahoma City ownership group spent buying the Sonics last year is a substantial part of the team's investment.'


what a peach...I never thought I'd feel better off with Pauly than another owner.

Jack, Instead of Morgan, why don't you tell Jim Karlock to get his own blog?

He already has one. And unlike Morgan, he doesn't jump into multiple posts all day long and argue with everyone about everything.

BTW, please don't think you're going to start an argument with me over this, or you won't be commenting here any more.

Oh wow. You may want to warn fans like us who are squeamish before sending us to links like that CBC.ca one.

Funny, for all the horror that was the Shawn Kemp era here, the Brian Grant Experience didn't go exactly as planned either. He averaged a double double for a couple decent years...but an $89 million contract?

King County would cover much of the cost -- $423 million -- by extending tax measures now in place to pay for Qwest Field and Safeco Field.

Will all the folks who despise PDC tax breaks (for example) but like handouts to professional sports team (because the allegedly pump up the economy) please raise their hands?

Qiao, you won't find many raising their hands.

I'm here in Vegas for a convention (snort) and they're all over the news about getting an NBA franchise. Apparently the commissioner has stepped aside and the owners are going to vote on it soon. I'm not sure if they are talking about a new expansion team or what. The mayor down here it totally hopped up about making it happen for whatever thats worth.

Let them pull the Sonics out. Can stand
the way they play anyway and don't bring
in another bunch like that. I'm tired of
paying for all these so called Pro teams
stadiums. Oklahoma wants the Sonics, they
can have them. GOOD RIDENCE!

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