Sunday, August 06, 2006

What will this week bring?

That is the question I have. Think about what we had going on last week.

Monday: Jamaal Magloire is officially traded to Portland
Wednesday: Westview High School's Andy Poling, as reported by www.oregonpreps.com, announces he will follow the lead of Love and Singler, and leave Oregon to play his college basketball at Gonzaga.
Wednesday: Blazers announce their 2006-07 schedule.
Thursday AM: The Oregonian reports that PAM and Vulcan are reviewing multiple offers to purchase the Rose Garden and the NBA team.
Thursday at Noon: Paul Allen announces he will not be selling the team.
Thursday: Oregon State Football Media Day-Beavs show up with a chip on their shoulders, and in the case of most, those shoulders have become bigger and stronger in the offseason!

Lets take a look back and ahead. I have not commented on this blog about the Blazers' sale or lack thereof, because really I have spent the past few days trying to talk to people inside the situation, and some who are around the NBA on the business side, and find out what is REALLY going on.

Paul Allen doesn't want to sell the Blazers
Really, it is that simple. Based on what I have been told by people both inside the Blazers front office, and those around the NBA, PA has made the decision that he wants to keep HIS team for now.
Why? Again, it is simple. To steal a phrase from the great philosopher Dale "Taser" Davis, at the end of the day, Paul Allen is a fan. Simple, easy, and really nothing more.
I look at PA as being exactly like Mark Cuban and Larry Miller. Owners who are fans first, and in terms of the teams they own, businessmen second. While I was always considered to be "anti-Jazz" while in Utah, I really liked Larry Miller. I loved his style. Yeah, I mocked him for crying at every press conference, but he showed real emotion for his team which is refreshing.
Think about it the difference between Seattle's new owners and PA, Cuban and Miller. The Oklahoma City contingent stated they bought the team because it was a "good investment, and we are investing in the league." PA, Cuban, and Miller own teams because they are fans who have the money to own their own team.
I have always stated on the radio show that I thought Paul Allen is a great owner. But I think Vulcan is a bad partner. They don't mix. Despite what many think, Vulcan is a group of smart businessmen who are hired to tell Paul Allen what he SHOULD do with his money. But Paul Allen is going to make the final decision, and he has obviously decided to not sell the team, despite the "broken financial model." It doesn't mean he won't sell it down the road, maybe even as it improves and becomes more appealing.
Why is Paul Allen a great owner? The same reason Mark Cuban and Larry Miller are great owners. They love watching their team play, like any die-hard fan would. Because of that, they never want to see their team turn into a loser. They will push the management to make moves to improve.
How do you explain the last three years? One guess is Vulcan told Paul Allen he had to get his financial house in order, trim payroll and cut back the business expenses. He did that, and watched his team, the team he loves watching and rooting for, become the worst franchise not named the Knicks in the NBA. Now it is obvious he has decided to become a fan again, at the expense of the business, and try to make this team better.
Really, he started last year when he spent a lot of money to hire Nate McMillan. Then he invested about $20 million dollars in picks and the salaries for those picks, on draft day. We SHOULD have known on June 28th that he wasn't interested in selling the team.
The Blazers appear to be a better basketball team today than they were at the end of the season.
The next move out of town won't be Paul Allen selling, it will probably be Darius Miles. The financial model is still broken, but at the end of the day one of the richest men in the world probably doesn't care.

Global Spectrum
The worst thing that could come out of this mess is PA buying the building back and Global Spectrum, the group that manages the Rose Garden, going away. Mike Scanlon and his staff have done a remarkable job booking events and turning a profit. They are far more involved in charitable events in the community than Oregon Arena Management was at the end of their reign of terror. Best case would be PA getting the building back, but retaining Scanlon and his staff. Of course I still believe in Santa too!

We will be in Eugene for Oregon Football Media Day on Monday, and we urge you to take a listen on the radio at 1080 The Fan (AM 1080) or via the web at www.1080thefan.com from
3-6.

Thank you and goodbye.

7 Comments:

At 9:18 PM, Anonymous Paul Freeman said...

PAM & Vulcan Productions Presents

A Kevin Pritchard Film

Nate McMillian as...
PETER PAN

John Gabriel as Tinkerbell

Starring Paul Allen as Captain Hook

Steve Patterson as Smee

David Stern as the Crocodile

The Lost Boys: The Trail Blazers

Wendy: Mike Barrett

John Darling: Dean Demopoulos

Michael Darling: Monty Williams

Nana: Brian Wheeler

Parents: Maurice Lucas & Dean Demopoulos

Tiger Lilly: Bob Burke

Featuring---

The Pirates/Indians:
D. Miles & the Former "Jail Blazers"

Narrated by: Bill Schonely & Mike Rice
----------Setting--------
Neverland = The Rose Garden

London = Portland

Captain Hook's Ship = "Octopus"

 
At 11:34 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Agree completely about Paul Allen. Just can't articulate it as well as you.

I think the we are fortunate to have him as the Blazer owner and the local media treats him a little harshly.

 
At 6:04 PM, Blogger BuddyJay said...

The media and fans seem to swing to the whims of Allen, but with the same cast of characters I don't see how the near future changes much.

It seem a lot of people were looking forward to this season with the new draft picks and center, but nothing has changed in regards to the strategy of waiting on Miles till the trade deadline. It didn't work the past couple years, and he has added more baggage and injuries in the mean time.

From an objective view-point ... nothing has changed yet.

 
At 8:56 PM, Blogger Mike@WSU said...

Allen is a fan? Of what? Criticism?

Allen has been criticized every step of the way in his stewardship of the Portland Blazers. First, The Oregonian allowed Dwight Jayne to publicly second guess and criticize Allen with impunity and now that he is gone the paper lets its columinsts and sports editor do the damage.

There are some facts to back this assertion up. A check with the paper's ombudsman's office will show that the percentage of negative press in the Alllen years far exceeds the positive. Allen has been criticized for everything - including the inane. Does it really matter where he lives? He doesn't have to live in Portland to run that team (neither do team executives for that matter) yet somehow he was criticized for that - as if it matters.

Secondly, the local media criticized PA for the money he spent on payroll, oh I get it Portland - Allen should have been like the Sonics or Clippers and horded the money earned from the operation and put out an inferior product year-after-year. Some how spending money makes Allen a villain. Hmmmm, I wonder if Yankees' fans are unhappy that their owner is willing to spend whatever it takes to put a superior product on the field.

Thirdly, the Garden. Well, PA has a good point. The entities did need to reach an agreement restructing that debt. During the time of low interest rates many Americans refinanced their homes at substantial savings. I guess the thinking in Portland is this: PA is too rich to be allowed to benefit from any savings so to heck with him. The local media villified him for allowing the arena to go into bankruptcy. He could have paid the arena off with cash - if he so chose - but you don't get to be one of the richest men IN THE WORLD by letting people take advantage of you.

PA gave millions of dollars to the Portland community (not including the income tax revenue from the big contracts he gave his players), but I guess that wasn't good enough for P-town and its citizens, they focused merely on the disappointments, the occasional trangressions and later the losses.

No wonder PA threw up his hands in frustration and said screw-it all! Of course, the local media lambasted him for that too. It's funny, the local media even went so far into the anti-Allen camp that brought out Ron Tonkin who claimed his company wouldn't renew its suites at the Garden (http://209.63.36.87/article_detail.cfm?ID=12102) due to all the "drama". Funny that anyone would give any credibility to a car salesman (we all know they are honest, right?)

The point of this post is, perhaps Portlander's need to be a little more sympathetic to their team that is currently down on its luck. Perhaps, Portlander's should be greatful that they have an owner with Allen's means. He has shown that he will do most anything to put a winner there - as long as the community cuts him a little slack.

Personally, I hope he bides his time and when the Sonics leave I pray he moves that team to Seattle. Ultimately, a team in Seattle is more important to the league in terms of market value and TV contract money. Also, PA could build an arena in a community that respects him (he's the guy that saved the Seahawks AND took them to the Superbowl) and won't take him for granted. Two things Portland has yet to learn.

M. Backman

 
At 11:53 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Interesting comments, M. Backman. I agree with some, but not all. Regarding your 3rd point, business financing is not the same as your home mortgage. The bondholders were holding paper that guaranteed a certain rate of return, and in times of lower interest rates, that represented a nice return. They had no obligation whatsoever to restructure the terms of the loan that PA signed. PA claiming BK was his choice. Giving up the RG suite revenue and premium seating revenue was a calculated gamble on his part, and it wasn't wise. That is a big contributing factor to the "broken economic model" that we hear so much about. Sure, it's broken, but it isn't the bondholders' fault. We know that in today's pro sports world, teams really need the big dollar revenues generated by luxury suites, etc. If PA wants to swallow some pride and keep the team while pursuing a break-even strategy, he'll figure a why to buy back the arena and profit from ALL revenue streams. I agree on your other points, except the moving to the Seattle part. Having a pro sports franchise in town is great for the sports fan, as we can go enjoy the top level of professional athletes that is the NBA. Whether you go to see the Blazers or one of the other teams coming to town with marquee stars, the Blazers would be missed by this b-ball fan. I'm not a season ticket holder, but attend around 5 games per year with my kids, and it's a lot of fun, win or lose. Pro sports are cyclical in almost all markets (how many years between championships for the Red Sox and the White Sox, for example??), and we just need to be patient and also appreciate that it appears that the Blazers are trying very hard to improve the on-court product. Rip City could be back soon (I hope). If so, the RG will be filled again, and that is the goal.

 
At 8:48 AM, Blogger NIKEY said...

I like what the blazers are doing revamping the whole team. I hope thet dispose og darius miles soon .The team is better w/ miles miles away .

 
At 1:51 PM, Blogger jlarose78 said...

Trade Darius Miles, Rafe Lafrents, and a second round draft pick for New Yorks, David Lee and Jaleen Rose expiring contract.

 

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