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Friday, April 13, 2012

On moving the Blazers to Seattle

We've speculated for years that Paul Allen might move the Blazers to Seattle. Readers have written in and told us that we were all wet -- that Allen would never be allowed to do that. Two reasons have been given: (1) He owns the pro football Seahawks, and NFL rules don't allow someone to own both a pro football and a pro basketball team; and (2) Allen has personally signed an agreement with the City of Portland that forbids him from moving the Blazers.

Well, you can scratch reason no. 1 after this morning's news that New Orleans Saints (football) owner Tom Benson just purchased the New Orleans Hornets (basketball). Apparently the only rule that the NFL (football league) has about this is that an NFL owner can't own a major sports team in the market of another owner's NFL franchise:

"Our cross-ownership policy permits the controlling owner of an NFL team to own a team in the NBA, MLB, or NHL in his or her own NFL market. So there is no cross-ownership issue here," NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said in an email to USA TODAY Sports.

And so while under league rules, Paul Allen couldn't move the Blazers to Jacksonville, for example, he could move them to Seattle. Our readers were wrong about that.

That leaves Allen's personal deal with the City of Portland as the only obstacle to a move to Seattle. How iron-clad do you think that is? Has the public actually ever seen it?

Comments (7)

At least Detroit still has the Pistons.


Also remember that the NBA commissioner has to approve such moves. Stern would no way in hell allow a very successful NBA market lose its team. Portland is one of the unique markets in the NBA where they have an amazingly strong fan base. If he wouldn't even allow Chris Paul to go to the Lakers, you can bet the Blazers are here to stay.

"Stern would no way in hell allow a very successful NBA market lose its team."

Ever heard of the Seattle SuperSonics?

That personal agreement could be down or Portland Loo after a modest contribution to the Sustainability Center.

Mary Nolan's husband Mark Gardner could promise to borrow from Portland taxpayers $59 Million combined with Paul's "get out of town" $35 Million to turn the Rose Garden into a sustainable, green recreation center. That would fly with Sam.

Then Gardner could skip town owing the taxpayers $52 Million like he did with PGE Park. That flies too.


Paul Allen sells the Blazers to a shell corporation whose ownership is hard to determine, but essentially he controls it.

Shell corporation has no such agreement with the City of Portland. Shell corporation moves Blazers to Seattle.

After a couple years, shell corporation files for bankruptcy. Allen then "repurchases" the Blazers for pennies on the dollar.

Problem solved.

Stan Kroenke owns both the Denver Nuggets and the St. Louis Rams. Technically the rams are under his sons ownership, but he is the owner. There are ways around it.

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