Blazers: terrible season over, possible new buyer

The 2005-06 NBA regular season is over, and the Blazers are the worst team in the league. From the Columbian:

After six months and 61 defeats, losing streaks, frustrations, desperate searches for leaders and even more desperate searches for anything positive to hold onto, the Portland Trail Blazers' season ended Wednesday like so many nights did before in a 106-96 loss to Phoenix. It was the Blazers' eighth consecutive loss and their 33rd loss in the last 37 games. It finished Portland's season with their worst record in 33 years, matching the second-worst record in franchise history at 21-61.

Meanwhile, former Blazers great Terry Porter has put together an ownership group to purchase the team. They appear to be $75 million away from pulling together a financing package. From the Oregonian:

The group, which also includes charter-school advocate Rob Kremer and businessman Todd Stucky, met with potential corporate and individual investors Tuesday and Wednesday. Kremer said response from investors, as well as community members responding on the group's Web site, has been positive and encouraging.

Meanwhile, one community group has organized -- calling themselves Schooling the Blazers - that is attempting to fill the financial gap by raising donations for the Portland Schools Foundation, which would in turn become a minority owner of the Portland Trail Blazers. They believe their idea would generate $2.5 million annually in school funding.

A $2 surcharge will be added to every ticket sold for every event held at the Rose Garden. That money would be paid to the Foundation, and then in turn to the Portland Public School District. ...this would be an additional yearly income of over $2.5 million dollars to the School District.


  • Israel (unverified)

    ESPN's Bomani Jones writes, "Once upon a team in 2003, the Trail Blazers made the playoffs for the 21st consecutive season. But while winning was cool, the personnel they won with wasn't appealing to many. The Blazers' roster was full of malcontents and more than a handful of people with rap sheets. So after taking over as the Blazers' GM in 2003, John Nash decided to revamp the roster with players that made fewer waves.

    Portland hasn't made the playoffs since.

    Blazer fans are now faced with the same dilemma Oklahoma Sooners football fans dealt with in the 1990s: Is the perception that the only major league franchise in town is a loose confederation of criminals worse than being forced to root for a bunch of losers?"

    The rest of the article: ESPN's take

    And up north - the Sonics have given the City of Seattle 30 day. Some speculate that Allen will turn around and buy the Sonics, maybe, mabe not, but the city is telling the Sonics to more of less buzz off.

    Times take Times column

    We may lose NBA basketball not only in Portland, but in the entire Northwest - all of this after the Vancouver Grizz failed...

  • Sirajul (unverified)

    No way will Terry find the money to buy the team. Some other buyer will come in and take over the Blazers - probably out of town money. Stern said today on an ESPN chat that someone already has the money put together to buy the team. Terry's group would be outbid no matter what. But at least the Blazers will stay put. The lease says they can't be moved.

    However, the Sonics are gone from Seattle. No way the city is going to pay to renovate Key Arena, not with debt from Safeco, Qwest Field and the Kingdome still on the books. Other cities are hungrier for a team - Oklahoma City, Kansas City, just to name two. And you know what? So what.

    Allen is done owning a basketball team. Why would he ever want to torture himself like that again, especially when he is already a god in Seattle for getting the Seahawks to the Super Bowl.

    Anybody see it differently?

  • (Show?)

    Once upon a team in 2003, the Trail Blazers made the playoffs for the 21st consecutive season. But while winning was cool, the personnel they won with wasn't appealing to many.

    Just another ignorant comment from a national writer. Before Paul Allen bought the team they won more games and had players everyone found appealing.

  • Steve Bucknum (unverified)

    This is an interesting paradox -

    On the one hand, many citizens are against raising taxes for needed services.

    On the other hand, many citizens believe that government should stay out of private enterprise.

    The School Foundation "owning" a part of the Blazers, and making it a fund raiser for schools is close to - but not quite there - a form of government entering into private enterprise to raise funds.

    Over here in Prineville, our City owns a railroad and the dinner train on it as well as a golf course and the club house at the golf course. Prineville crossed "the line" into government involvement in private enterprise in 1918 and hasn't looked back since.

    So, perhaps this is the way of the future. Instead of looking to taxes for revenue, each level of government would run an enterprise to raise money for its needed services. Perhaps the housing authority could run a furniture store, perhaps the Assessor's office can run a real estate appraisal business, perhaps the County Library can sell new and used books, perhaps the County Treasurer could do annual tax return work - all for profit.

    The paradox is that the same people who have been the most notable advocates for tax reductions are also the same people who are against government being involved in private enterprise.

  • (Show?)

    Steve -- The Portland Schools Foundation is a privately-run 501c3 nonprofit. Not a government agency.

  • JWT (unverified)

    Steve: This is no irony at all. Those who support tax reductions generally believe in limited government. It is no contradiction to oppose government competing against businesses in the private sector under the same limited government philosophy.

  • Bill Holmer (unverified)

    My rudimentary understanding of bankruptcy law says that if Paul Allen goes that route, the lease agreement with the arena is subject to cancellation and the arena becomes one of many creditors, including the players. If some other city, say Las Vegas, wants to supply the franchise with a state of the art arena, the new owner will be happy to oblige and move the team. Bottom line: don't hang your hat on the lease agreement keeping the Blazers in Portland.

  • blizzak (unverified)

    While certain members of the "JailBlazers" were bad citizens (i.e. Rueben Patterson) a lot of the bad publicity was unfair and was created (to a certain degree) by the press and certain people in Portland who hate everything to do with hip-hop culture. Specifically, I'm talking about Rasheed Wallace. The good about Rasheed: he lived in Portland year round, was involved with the community, was a dedicated family man (so much so that he sued for custody of one of his children), and played solid basketball. The bad: he yelled at referees, got caught smoking pot once, and wouldn't talk to the press. Rasheed is a good person and a good basketball player (won a championship with the Pistons). The people who drove Rasheed out of town know nothing about basketball and nothing about what makes a good person.

  • (Show?)

    Two thoughts come to mind.

    What killed the Blazers wasn't the Jail Blazers. It was the over-the-top payroll they compiled while making a run at the championship. It was a good run, but like with other teams in the NBA or NFL or MLB, that spending leads to low times. It also doesn't help that the Blazers made some stupid moves in recent years that dug their hole even deeper. Another one of those mistakes, an expensive long-term cotract for Miles, caught up with them this year as did their stadium bankruptcy.

    As for Rasheed, he was asked to be a franchise player here. He isn't a franchise player. He isn't a leader. He succeeds in Detroit because he can shine or fade as his tempermental mind dictates. Put him on a team where he has to perform night in and night out in each quarter for the team to be successful, and he and that team will fail. It was a positive move both for the Blazers and for Rasheed to move him out of Portland.

  • jd (unverified)

    I almost agree with the 'franchise player' analysis, but not quite.

    The bad style of ball the Blazers started to play went they went south was sedentary, with Sheed as option 1. I think Sheed is much better slashing and cutting and picking up broken pieces and improvising. He's not Shaq, or even Duncan. He's big, but not that big, and his phenomenal athleticism, touch, and length is better put to use in a chaotic yet fluid offense. The kind Detroit runs, because those guys know how to play, and were well coached.

    Losing Jermaine was huge. Jermaine and Sheed would have been monsters together.

    I have no idea why Sheed starting losing his mind and screaming at the refs. No a good trip. But this town didn't help at all. Bunch of whiny whiteys who don't know dick about hoops. Especially the sports writers. My God. What pompous idiots.

    Good for Sheed and his ring, though. Probably more to come.

  • jd (unverified)

    Speaking of a town full of tighty whiteys who don't get hip hop, check out Exhibit A:

  • (Show?)

    What killed the Blazers wasn't the Jail Blazers.

    In a certain sense, I agree with this. What killed the Blazers wasn't just the bad eggs--Portlanders are actually quite forgiving--it was the absence of good eggs. There were a cascade of events: new, very expensive arena; plans for a Blazers cable network that would eliminate free TV games; ballooning salaries; players not only in trouble with the law, but derisive of fans; jailblazers.

    Terry Porter's tenure marked the high-water mark of the modern team, when the players weren't just good, they were good eggs. I loved a number of Blazers over the years, but TP, with his energy, his longshot effort even to make the NBA, and his constant good humor and good relationships with the fans has always been my fave.

    I also have to say that I was amused and not altogether alarmed at seeing Rob Kremer's name come up in the discussions. Rob has wrangled with a number of people here on threads, but I wouldn't mind his tenacity as a part of a new, local ownership group.

    I hope they can pull it together.

  • Pavel Goberman (unverified)

    To be number one the team must do something unique, unusual, that no one team does. Six years in the row I offered my help to Blazers, and predicted that without my help this team will have no luck. But no answer. And as we see: I'm right.

    Pavel Goberman

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