UPDATE 4:53 pm: As we expected, Paul Allen has quickly denied the report. From his twitter account.
It is absolutely false that I have entertained offers for
@pdxtrailblazers. Unnamed sources are wrong as usual. Why don’t reporters check?
Because whether or not you are actually selling the team, you would say you are not.
Any source who leaks something has a a point of view if not an outright agenda, and maybe the source of the CSNNW.com reporter has an interest in seeing this sale move forward. Maybe more of an interest than Allen. We don’t know for sure.
The fact is this another situation (often like trades) where the first discussions are handled through back channels, allowing Allen to say he has not entertained any offers while people that work for him have some level of conversation. It may never get farther than that. But I’m willing to bet there were some discussions on some level.
2:01 pm: Often the model for selling an NBA team is to bring its payroll costs way down, load it up with picks and young talent, which make it more appealing to a potential buyer. Not totally unlike what the Trail Blazers did at the trade deadline.
Portland Trail Blazer owner Paul Allen is once again entertaining offers to sell the team, according to sources with knowledge of the situation.
At least two groups have apparently approached Allen, who briefly put the team on the market in the spring of 2006 before apparently changing his mind and withdrawing it.
You can bet the denial is coming in 5…4…3…2…
Allen (one of Microsoft’s co-founders) has said as recently as just before the start of this season that he has no plans to sell the team, and in this same piece team president Larry Miller says he knows of no such talks.
However while Allen was playing the role of hardliner during the lockout there was a lot of buzz that he wanted a deal that would increase the franchise value for when he would sell the team not long after. The report adds this:
One of those interested groups is said to be based in Los Angeles and the other is said to be a local group. One of the prospective purchasing groups is far enough along in discussions that it has scheduled a trip to the Rose Quarter to look at the team’s books and assess the arena. It has been emphasized that neither group has any interest in moving the team out of Portland.
Even if this report is true it is far from a sure thing — remember 2006. That said, Allen will likely at least get some calls and a sense of what the market value of the team is right now.