Tag: Trail Blazers

Paul Allen

Blazers’ Allen talks openly about being small market owner


Paul Allen got painted as the bad guy this summer, fair or not.

But to his credit, when he sat down with reporters Monday he was honest — he was a hardliner. Which is ironic as the Blazers were one of the bigger spending small markets of the last couple decades.

Portland followed the pattern of most smaller markets — they kept costs down until they became competitive and had a window to win a ring, then they spent like the big markets. Blazers people will say that Allen lost money all those years (decide for yourself if you want to believe that, the co-founder of Microsoft can certainly afford it either way) but he admits now he didn’t like that pattern he wanted to change the economic landscape of the NBA.

Here are his quotes, from the Portland Tribune (via TrueHoop).

“The quandary you get into in a small market is, you have a choice between being competitive and maybe overspending, or not trying to be competitive and trying to break even,” he said. “That became very dramatic with some teams. We were starting to see some teams say, ‘We’re not going to be competitive, because it costs too much money, and we’re losing too much money.’

“Even the mid-market teams like, say, Dallas … they won the NBA championship but were way over the luxury tax and lost a lot of money. It was clear that not only did you have to stop the small-market teams from collectively losing a lot of money, but you had to try to level the playing field.”

Allen also said he has no plans to sell the team right now and that he does not plan to make ventures into the luxury cap territory again.

Go read the whole article — he also talks about the Blazers revolving door at general manager. I don’t agree with everything Allen said, but at least he came out and said it, unlike other hardline owners who hid behind David Stern.

Portland owner, one of world’s richest men, complains about NBA finances

Paul Allen

For some context, Portland Trail Blazer owner Paul Allen is worth $13 billion dollars according to Forbes. That would make him the 21st richest man in the United States. Which is the kind of money you get when you are one of the founders of Microsoft. Put it this way: When it was time to interview Rich Cho for the Trail Blazers’ GM position, Allen few Cho out to do the interview on his yacht in Helsinki, where he was vacationing.

So when Paul Allen complains about the economic system in the NBA it’s not that he can’t afford it. It’s that he feels he shouldn’t have to.

And in his new biography — with the NBA parts reviewed at Blazers Edge — he complains not about the salary cap or percentage of Basketball Related Income, he complains about revenue sharing. You know, the things the players union keels bringing up.

Allen also goes into a fair bit of financial detail about the Blazers. He says he purchased the team for $65 million after making a “handshake deal” with previous owner Larry Weinberg and that he sunk “more than a half billion dollars in the franchise” prior to filing for bankruptcy to restructure the Rose Garden deal.

By the end of the chapter, Allen is advocating for a more level playing field between small market and big market teams. “We’re doing just about everything right, but we’re still losing money,” Allen writes. And, due to contract extensions for Brandon Roy and LaMarcus Aldridge, the Blazers “won’t be turning a profit anytime soon, a fact that speaks volumes about the plight of smaller-market franchises in the NBA.” He points out that the NBA has yet to address the “big market / small market discrepancy” in revenue generating potential and says that in his “perfect world” the NBA would be a place where “the most successful NBA teams wouldn’t necessarily be those with the biggest local television markets or corporate-suite bases.”

Perhaps most interestingly, Allen says that he met with NBA commissioner David Stern in New York City when the Rose Garden was in bankruptcy to discuss his options. Stern’s response: “Well, you can always sell your team.”

Allen is a private person who doesn’t talk much, but is now. He did a long sit down with the Oregonian talking about the book and more — why he had to have the team file bankruptcy to get out of the Rose Garden deal, his relationship with Clyde Drexler, why Qyntel Woods disappointed him, and even Greg Oden’s knees. It’s worth a read.

In that interview he sounds more like one of the owners who is looking for this new Collective Bargaining Agreement change the economic playing field for small market franchises. But he realizes revenue sharing has to be a part of that. And David Stern said that was discussed frankly by owners at the last Board of Governor’s meeting. But that is very, very different than having a consensus.

Allen could use that economic change and some revenue sharing cash, because he is locked into Brandon Roy for a long time now.

One other interesting line that Blazers Edge pulled out.

Allen on Michael Jordan: “I’ve seen just one other person up close who compared to him, who wanted not only to beat you but to crush you if he could. Those two stood apart for raw competitiveness: Michael Jordan and Bill Gates.”

Gerald Wallace to Portland has cooled off, may be dead

Orlando Magic v Charlotte Bobcats, Game 3

UPDATE 8:42 pm: According to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo and other reports this trade has at the very least “cooled down” and may be dead. Woj suggests that, as he has done on other deals that reached the point of just needing a final approval, Bobcats owner Michael Jordan may have gotten cold feet.

The deal is not dead but appears to be on hold.

UPDATE 3:51 pm: It looks like it is a done deal or very close — Gerald Wallace has been traded to the Portland Trail Blazers, according to a tweet from the well connected Dwight Jaynes. (No other confirmations, yet, but he is a good source.) And no, Nicolas Batum is not part of the package headed back to Charlotte. That makes this a win for Portland at first glance.

The deal will send Joel Pryzbilla, some draft picks and cash and back to Charlotte. That’s it. The Bobcats had been working hard to save money and that seems to be what they get out of this deal. Not players that make them better.

Portland, with Batum and Wallace at the two and three, could be one of the best defensive teams on the perimeter in the league. What’s kind of sad to think is that if they had the old, explosive Brandon Roy and a functional Greg Oden this team would be a serious playoff threat to the West elite.

3:05 pm: It seems a number of teams love them some Gerald Wallace. Which make sense — he is one of he more unheralded quality small forwards in the league.

Portland is pushing hard to get Gerald Wallace according to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo. Cleveland is in the mix, too, but that seems to be stalled out at best, according to Brian Windhorst of ESPN.

I get the Blazers pushing, but what will they give up? Reports are the Bobcats are asking for Nicolas Batum to be part of the deal. The Trail Blazers don’t want to put the young French wing player in any trade. They shouldn’t in this case. Sure, Wallace is the better offensive player but he is also eight years older than Batum and more expensive

That said, there is value if you can get Wallace at he right price (Portland was thinking more like Rudy Fernandez and filler). Wallace, he is a quality three who is strong at both ends of the floor. His shooting numbers are down this season — 15.6 points per game on 43 percent shooting —because he is getting to the rim less often and shooting more from 16 feet out. That may change on a team with other quality offensive options.

Clearly the Bobcats are listening to offers but they wisely want a lot back for such a big chip. That may be too much for teams looking to steal a player. Still, it’s a name to watch.