Maury Brown at Forbes wrote a rebuttal to the recent John Canzano column about the Blazers’ hiring of Kevin Calabro. Canzano made a weak case that the Blazers may be planning a move to Seattle to fill the hole left by the SuperSonics’ move to Oklahoma City. Canzano discussed Allen’s love of Seattle, and the various Blazer hires with Seattle links, such as Nate McMillan, Brandon Roy, Martell Webster and Jamal Crawford.
While there have been no rumors of a Blazer move, no sign the team is in serious financial distress, nor any hint the NBA owners would entertain the thought of moving one of their long-time franchises 180 miles north, Canzano explained this only emphasizes his uniqueness in being willing to discuss it.
The Blazers executive team doesn't like this "Would the Blazers ever move to Seattle?" theory floated. Trust me. I floated it publicly after the team hired Calabro. I wondered if Allen might attempt someday to cut his commute short and bundle all his sports entities. The folks at One Center Court were not pleased. One team executive called it an, "unfounded conspiracy theory."
Brown skewered Canzano’s original column, giving multiple reasons why it was misguided. Beyond the solid financial situation, there would be the need for an arena (which the City of Seattle has roadblocked), relocation fees, and Portland’s notoriously-strong attendance. He eventually reaches a clear conclusion.
If Canzano were to go back and look at the firing of the club’s broadcast team, and the hiring of Kevin Calabro, what he might have considered was looking at the Portland Trail Blazers as growing more regionally. This doesn’t require relocation. This could potentially mean moving to ROOT Sports NW or a new FOX Sports regional sports network if they decide to grow television market size when their deal with Comcast NW expires. If the Mariners and Seahawks see Portland as part of their territory, and the NBA has no current plans on expanding into Seattle, then why can’t the Blazers look north to fill a bit of a void through television and radio? That’s reasonable. Relocation, isn’t.
This will not be the last time Portland’s unlikely Seattle relocation will be discussed. However, instead of a move, there are clear signs the Blazers plan to expand their marketing to the NBA-less Seattle territory. The Blazers can have the best of both worlds: A legendary franchise remains located in Portland, but with additional visibility to a new generation of fans in the Seattle market, making them the Northwest’s basketball team.