Portland Trail Blazers owner Jody Allen has abdicated critical decisions and communication to associates and has not been responsive to the basic needs of the NBA franchise she owns, according to an article printed in the New York Post today. The piece relies heavily, but not exclusively, on comments from former team president Larry Miller, who served the Blazers from 2007-2012. It also cites unnamed sources and long-standing news reports alleging personal impropriety and professional dereliction on the part of Allen, who inherited the team upon the death of her brother, Paul Allen, in 2018.
The article argues that Allen should sell the franchise. It comes in the wake of the Blazers putting out a statement that no sale is impending at this time. That statement came in response to a reported offer tendered by a coalition led by Nike executive Phil Knight. Miller is a Nike employee, currently chair of the Jordan Brand.
The Post article rehearses allegations of personal misconduct by Allen, linking it to increasingly suspect decision-making within the franchise:
Sources told The Post, there is growing disarray behind the scenes. A highly placed team staffer alleged that Jody’s “toxic behavior” — dating back to allegations of harassing bodyguards and violating US import laws — has spilled over into the management of the team.
The article suggests that Allen is shunting decisions to Bert Kolde, long-time executive at Vulcan, Inc., the parent company that owns and manages the Blazers. Kolde served as an advisor to Paul, but has allegedly become the focal point of Portland’s upper management under Jody.
“The Trail Blazers are not as successful as they could have been. Jody is deferring everything to Bert, and he is not the right guy for the team,” Miller said.
Kolde was Paul Allen’s college roommate and friend. “He always had these issues that didn’t make sense. Paul would consult [Kolde], but [Paul] would make the decisions,” Miller added. “Jody’s letting Bert make all the decisions now.
Allen allegedly refused communication from Knight regarding his offer to buy the team and from franchise superstar Damian Lillard when he wanted to discuss the team’s future, deferring both to Kolde.
“Damian wanted to sit down and have a conversation with Jody about the team and she didn’t return his call. Then he tried to email her. Eventually she just never responded and put him in touch with Bert,” the source alleged. “When you own a team, there are critical key decisions to make and you should be the one involved in making the decisions.”
Later in the article, Miller admits that Allen has become more involved since the passing of her brother. He also suggests that, should Kolde remain the central decision-maker, the process of selling the team will remain slow, as the Vulcan exec is reticent.
The article gives much more details about Allen’s past infractions and the legal wranglings that came from them.