This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on January 10, 2009 1:52 AM. The previous post in this blog was Last chance to park on the Portland transit mall. The next post in this blog is Dubious distinction. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

E-mail, Feeds, 'n' Stuff

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Blazers' business, poker, spelling skills belong in the D League

The insanity to which the Trail Blazers succumbed when they signed a big contract with wayward underachieving forward Darius Miles was bad enough. But now that it's come back to haunt them, the team's management has managed to make the situation far, far worse by trying to play hardball without a bat.

This week, the Blazers sent an e-mail around the league threatening to sue any other team that hires Miles and plays him in league games "for the purpose of adversely impacting the Portland Trail Blazers Salary Cap and tax positions." If Miles plays in two more games anywhere in the league this season, the Blazers, who I believe have to pay his fat salary anyway, apparently will also have to pay a steep "luxury tax" to many other teams. Portland will also be severely hampered in spending big bucks to sign free agents after the season is over.

To our untrained eye, the Blazers' threat is laughable. Proving that another owner had some sort of bad "purpose" in putting Miles in a uniform and handing him a ball would seem an unlikely proposition.

This appears to be just another example of Paul Allen making a huge mistake and then huffing and puffing about court action when he's got no real ammunition. Remember the arena bankruptcy? Bluff called; the Big Vulcan folded. We asked the same question back then: Why draw more attention to your own lack of professional acumen by engaging in boorish behavior?

And of course, the Blazers are losing their latest game of Truth or Dare. The Grizzlies just re-signed Miles.

Poor business judgment and arrogance don't smell any sweeter when you stir in hypocrisy. Which is what makes this quotation so amusing:

"Persons or entities involved in such conduct may be individually liable to the Portland Trail Blazers for tortuously [sic] interfering with the Portland Trail Blazers’ contract rights and perspective [sic] economic opportunities," [Blazer President Larry] Miller wrote, according to the reports.
Gosh, Larry, aside from the comical misspellings -- what about Darius Miles's contract rights and economic opportunities? Anybody interfering with those?

Already the union has said it will file a grievance against the Blazers. No kidding.

Comments (19)

I think the Blazers have a case to a certain extent if a team signs him to a 10 day contract, plays him twice and than cuts him. The thing that really pisses me off is that Miles was fat and out of shape, got the medical release thing, then decided to get back into shape. I would like to see him try to play 10+ minutes a night, his knee won't take it.

Also, the talk is Paul Allen and the Blazers have a team of lawyers who gave the go ahead for the email to the GM's. Should be interesting....

I think the Blazers have a case to a certain extent if a team signs him to a 10 day contract, plays him twice and than cuts him.

A case of what?

Also, the talk is Paul Allen and the Blazers have a team of lawyers who gave the go ahead for the email to the GM's.


Attorneys vetted the memo before the executives sent it, but did not participate in the decision to send it, Miller said.

Nobody vetted the spelling, that's for sure. This was Allen and his Vulcan yes-men up in Seattle. Like the bankruptcy, they're wasting their breath.

And the other big issue is that the Doctor who said Miles was unfit to play in the NBA anymore was mutually picked by the Blazers, Miles, NBA, and Player Union. I think it is stupid that the Blazers will be held responsible for Miles salary on their cap, because he was deemed unfit to play by a 3rd party doctor.

Anyways, I hope the Blazers look at all avenues available to them to fight this.

Just my opinion. Go Blazers!

Luxury tax, guy. It's too bad, but that's the way it's going to be.

Ah, and I now recall that at least part of Miles's salary, which the Blazers have to pay, is being covered by some sort of insurance policy that the Blazers have.

At first I thought maybe the Blazers did the math, and figured the negative publicity from the letter was worth more than the risk of another team playing Miles.

But, it doesn't appear they have any real claim. So their threat looks foolish.

I'll say this, if they do manage to scare a team away from playing Miles, it might be worth it in the end. But it is still Bush-League.

Gosh, Larry, aside from the comical misspellings -- what about Darius Miles's contract rights and economic opportunities? Anybody interfering with those?

Nailed it.

If Darius can play, he should be able to.

The Blazers' e-mail is about as stupid as saying, "you better not pick that guy in the draft, because we were planning to." Yeah, right. Sometimes you pick someone, or sign someone, just to mess with a rival's chances. How is this any different?

The good that might - MIGHT - come of this is that maybe now PA will listen to the professionals he hires to run the team. For too long he's treated the Blazers like a fatasy sports team and not a business enterprise. Things seem to finally be coming together.

Am I missing something? Tortuous is a word; one of its meanings is 'marked by devious or indirect tactics.'

Yeah, it's an untrained eye, all right.

The word is tortious.

Let's not be too harsh on the Blazers for their bad spelling. The Bush regime has been under constant criticism during the past few years for torturing people, and the Blazer exec who wrote that email was subconsciously thinking about that instead of tortious offenses of the legal kind.

Well, this may not actually be the case, but it's the best explanation I can come up with to explain why they wrote such a ridiculous email.

This is just the last remnants of that horrible relationship you were in that you thought was over 'til she put your sex tape on the Internet. Maybe I'm projecting.

I agree we screwed this up but not by anything in this email. We should have hired Darius to be the Trailblazer Ambassador to the Nightclubs of America. Community outreach and all that. Darius would have signed for 2 million or 1 million plus drinks and we would be clear once and for all. By the end of the season he would weigh 350 and his chances of returning would have been zero. It's called getting creative.

On a more positive note: LeBron James has now entered another level. He's bringing so much greatness to his game that I now favor Cleveland to win it all. I really do.

When asked - after he beat down the Celtics last night - how he got so much better at defense, LeBron credited his time on the Olympic team, specifically working with Coach Nate McMillan, whom he called, "One of the great defensive coaches that we have in this league."

If LeBron James is bragging on our coach, then things are going great in Blazerland. Despite this embarrassment.

The story I heard was that several league GM's had been chattering about signing Miles SOLELY to hurt the Blazers cap. This got back to the Blazers and that precipitated the email.

If you can prove a GM said that, then went out and signed Miles only to play 2 games, I would think you could win that case, at least in the court of public opinion.

It's possible this is a screw up only because it became public. It was a risky move, but the armchair cynic in all of us craves this sort of peek behind the curtain. In reality, this is nothing compared to the legal battles fought every day in other corporate industries.

Miles is going to get income until the end of his contract, no matter who is paying it or what his employment status is. The Blazers have a right to protect themselves. Every party had a stake in the exams that proclaimed Miles' injury "career-ending". The appropriate action would be for the NBA and union to void the contract and have Miles prove himself to get a new one... this would be fair considering the circumstances, but it won't happen. Thus, aren't the Blazers due some sort of hardship, or at least some slack?

It may seem difficult to prove any malicious intent, but aren't equally hard judgments made every day in our legal system? This issue very clearly cuts both ways... and the Blazers could very well argue other franchises are meddling in their financial house.

To argue, as Canzano and others do, this action takes us back to the Steve Patterson days is freaking delirious. Do we really have a memory that short?

Canzano shouldn't bring up the Blazers' past. Wasn't he the guy who got a urine sample from a Trailblazer, also irritating the union? I always felt if reporters are getting bodily fluids from the person they're writing about, then they're way too close to the story.

Ladies and gentlemen, your 2009 Portland Trial Blazers!

If Miles is unable to obtain new employment in the NBA, I wonder if he might be able to sue the Trailblazers for tortious interference with his business relationships by threatening other NBA teams.

It's too bad the Blazers don't show this level of interest in forcing an agreement between CSN Northwest and Dish Nework, DirecTV, and Charter cable. That fight might make more sense.

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