Greetings from Anaheim!
Have taken the kiddos down to Disneyland--rest assured; we flew into John Wayne Airport and have spent the entire time in Orange County--we have not ventured near that wretched hive of scum and villany a half-hour north on I-5. But with all the strange news coming out of One Center Court, I'm wondering--could Paul Allen be having more serious money problems than generally known? The Vulcans are very secretive about Allen's wallet; but it is always ominious when you start to notice them.
Obviously, I hope not... and the fact that the Blazers are making offers to free agents is probably a good sign... but things are starting to sound like Tightwad Paul is making an appearance. (As opposed to Drunken Sailor Paul, who spent millions to buy draft picks). Last time we saw an appearance by Tightwad Paul, the team was already in the toilet; and Allen simply was acting like the Blazers were a headache he no longer wanted to deal with. Then something changed his mind--and in three years, things are looking good.
But this year, we've seen Tightwad Paul make a few appearances--despite the fact that the team is winning, we've got a franchise player, and the Rose Garden sells out every night.
- Excessive huffiness concerning Darius Miles; to the extent that cheesed the entire league. We've always assumed it was about the cap space, but...
- Not exploiting the RLEC. Official line is no decent deal was available--and not many trades occurred the trade deadline. But...
- Recent comments from Tod Lieweke. (Given that the Rose Garden sells out every night, I'm curious what Lieweke thinks ought be done...)
- The Brandon Roy business. Many assume a deal will be done, and the Blazers are just being thorough. But...
- And even the pursuit of Hedo and Millsap. The following is tinfoil-hat territory; but what if the Blazers KNEW Hedo was going to Toronto, and let themselves be played to a) raise the price for the Raptors, and b) make it look like they were attempting to improve? Exiting tinfoil-hat territory, pretty much everyone expects the Jazz to match the Millsap offer sheet.
The followup to the "But..." questions above, is this:
But... what if it's really about the money?
It's long been assumed that Allen's finances are safe, that his hoard of cash is bigger and deeper than anyone else's. Several NBA owners, however, have been hit hard by the economic downturn--Robert $arver in Phoenix, for instance, who made (and has since lost) a fortune in real estate. Allen isn't in real estate; but there's nowhere you can put a gazillion dollars that hasn't been afffected by the downturn. The Blazers are a money-losing operation, even with the RG selling out; happiness in Blazerdom requires Paul to write checks to support the team. And what if that money is less freely flowing?
Regarding the Brandon Roy negotiatons. Everyone wonders what the big deal is--even if Brandon's deal is only four years, if he stays with Portland after that, he's gonna get paid well, right?
Maybe not. I think there's a reason that the Blazers might be fighting so hard about that last year, and it's not pretty.
Everyone expects a lockout when the current CBA expires, and everyone expects the league to use the downturn to try and put the screws to players. Existing contracts would survive (KG, for example, still has a prior-CBA contract which pays him more than he could earn under current rules, IIRC); but any subsequent contracts would be under the new CBA.
Without this consideration, a four-year deal would probably be more advantageous to Brandon; he could then enter UFA one year earlier--locking him up would be better for the Blazers.