Nike co-founder Phil Knight took a multi-billion-dollar shot at buying the Portland Trail Blazers — but the team appears to be playing defense.
ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski tweeted yesterday that Phil + Los Angeles Dodgers owner Alan Smolinisky offered more than $2 billion to buy our homegrown NBA franchise. The Blazers later confirmed it had received the offer, but said that “the team remains not for sale.”
Paul Allen bought the Blazers for $70 million in 1988. His sister, Jody Allen, took control of the franchise after Paul died in 2018. But reports have recently circulated, suggesting Paul wanted his trust — which includes the Blazers + the NFL’s Seattle Seahawks — sold upon his death.
“I’m told by a source that the 84-year-old Knight met multiple times with NBA Commissioner Adam Silver in recent weeks and consulted with former Blazers’ president Larry Miller about the franchise,” wrote sports reporter John Canzano. “There may have been a face-to-face conversation with trustee Jody Allen, too.”
Former Portland City Commissioner Nick Fish said in 2019 he expected the team to be put on the market at some point + that the settlement of the estate would take five to six years, according to The Oregonian.
The Blazers have a lease agreement with the City of Portland that runs through 2025, though the terms of the lease ensure they stay through at least 2023. Our fingers are crossed for RIP City’s “rabid fan support” that they stay for the long haul.
We’ll have to wait and see what happens next.