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.

GM Rich Cho: Rudy Fernandez will not be released by Blazers


Thumbnail image for blazers_logo.pngRudy Fernandez may need to readjust his dreams back to being traded, because the Blazers are not letting him go to Europe.

In an interview on 1080 The Fan in Portland (transcribed by Blazers Edge), new General Manager Rich Cho made it as clear as he possibly could.

“We won’t release his rights.”

Without that Fernandez cannot return to Europe. So, what about trading him?

“I’ve talked to a lot of teams. I don’t want to get into specific trade talks. The whole Rudy issue is out there. I have been active in talking to a lot of teams.”

So Rudy can wait.

In the same interview, Cho continued the Blazers theme of saying Greg Oden is on schedule, but that schedule may not have him ready at the start of the season. He said that Oden is not yet playing in games.

Cho also said that Joel Przybilla is on a “November, December timeframe”

Trail Blazers make one NBA arena green

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If you’re going to make the NBA more environmentally friendly, you start with the games.

Not so much on the court, but the festival and arenas around them. Those arenas are filled with discarded plastic beer cups, foil hot dog wrappers, mountains of trash. Massive amounts of energy are used to light and air condition the facilities. Almost everyone drives to the games and there is little encouragement to do otherwise. The Arenas are an environmental nightmare.

Portland — about the most environmentally friendly big city in the nation — is trying to change that. So much so that the Rose Garden has been named a LEED gold building, a high standard on the rating scale used to judge how environmentally friendly a building is.

“Our Portland fan base cares deeply about their impact on our natural heritage,” said Larry Miller, president of the Portland Trail Blazers. “Oregon is one of the most beautiful, livable places on the planet, and commitment to being good environmental stewards is part of what defines our region. This is a team effort, involving all of us working together.”

That mountain of trash at games? In Portland, more than 60 percent of it is sorted out and sent to recycling centers, not landfills. As part of this, the food vendors in the stadium divert their food waste as well.

All those cars? In Portland 30 percent of the people come to the games via bicycles or public transportation. Members of the Blazer staff can get subsides for public transportation and the team uses bikes or electric vehicles to get around for building on site operations.

All that energy wasted? The Rose Garden has energy efficient lights installed, low-flow plumbing fixtures and more. Plus the Rose Garden partnered with Pacific Power and NW Natural for the purchase of 100 percent renewable energy programs for the Rose Garden.

There’s more, things like using environmentally friendly cleaning materials.

It’s a lot of little things that add up to a big thing. And help keep one NBA arena green.