The news of Portland Trail Blazers owner Paul Allen’s death yesterday hit the NBA hard. Among the memorials and memories, questions are arising about the future of the franchise. Allen’s passion for the Blazers was well-chronicled, and his billions kept the smaller-market team in business even during lean years. Understandably, people are asking who the new owners are going to be, since Allen’s sister and heir, Jody, does not want to retain his sports franchises.
We’ll talk more about this issue at Blazer’s Edge over the next couple days. For openers, KGW TV in Portland ran an interview with Brian Berger, host of the Sports Business Radio Podcast, who also worked in communications and marketing for the Blazers in the 1990’s. The four-minute video includes Berger talking about personal and team memories of Allen. He credits Allen with supporting the franchise, then addresses the timeline and process for what happens next.
“I think this is going to be a matter of months before this is all sorted out. Usually in these cases, the leagues get involved. In this case, the NBA will get involved. They have a short list of potential buyers, people who have come forward previously and said, ‘hey, if a team ever goes on the market, I want to be on that list.’ The NBA has vetted those people, make sure they have money, make sure they don’t have any skeletons in the closet. But it’s going to be a matter of months. I don’t expect that we will see any changes this season. I think it’s going to be status quo, and then in the off-season this will probably get sorted out.”
If your platform doesn’t support the video above, you can watch Berger’s complete interview at KGW.