Thursday, August 03, 2006

O-Live Says Allen Not Selling

UPDATED AS THE DAY GOES BY has gone live with the news that Paul Allen is not selling the team at this point. We discussed the situation extensively last month and there's no need to rehash it now. At least we know the options are narrowed somewhat. To my mind this is a middle of the road outcome, not as bad as selling to a purchaser obviously intent on moving the team but not as good as true local ownership. We do not know, and Allen will not say, what his intentions are until and unless he buys back the Rose Garden or attempts to declare bankruptcy to get out of the lease. One of those alone will be the proof. If I had to guess I'd say this falls farther towards the good side of the continuum but as long as the Garden and the team remain separate entities it's bad for us.

It will be interesting to hear PAM's public reaction. That might tell us something.

I said at the Vegas Summer League that Pritchard didn't look or act like someone who thought he was going anywhere. Apparently that perception was accurate. Expect him to be named to some kind of official job title soon. Whether that's GM, assistant GM, Vice President of Basketball Operations, or whatever we'll just have to see.

Edit: I'll also be interested to see the official Blazer reaction. There has been none so far. Let's face it, you know Canzano didn't get the scoop from the Blazers themselves. If this had been the kind of unadulterated, splashy-PR good news fans hope for it would have been trumpeted all over the Blazer webpage and written about in the Mike Barrett blog instead of appearing first under Canzano's byline. Maybe we're still headed there, but we're not there yet. Likely the official team response will be non-committal jargon, "Paul Allen remains committed to owning the team, admires the passion of the Portland fans, and would like to see a positive outcome to this situation. Blah...blah...blah." It will be interesting to see if they even mention buying the facility as a possibility.

Second Edit: Helen Jung now has the official statements from Vulcan and PAM. The animosity is thinly veiled, where it's veiled at all.

From Vulcan: "No single entity has invested more over the years than Vulcan has in theTrail Blazers - and in that sense, no single entity has more at stake in an outcome that enhances the future prospects of the Trail Blazers as a franchise than we do. We will continue to explore ways to address the broken economic model under which the franchise now operates, while working to ensure the viability of the Trail Blazers as a team and a business."

From PAM: "In June, Portland Arena Management LLC (“PAM”) and Paul Allen began a process to jointly market the Trail Blazers and the Rose Garden arena... As a result of the process, multiple bids were received, a number of which were in a range which PAM found acceptable, and PAM confirmed that it wanted the sale process to continue to pursue negotiations with certain of the bidders. However, Mr. Allen has advised PAM that he does not wish to pursue a sale of the team at this time, and the sale process has been terminated."

Looks like we're back to square one...

Last edit: I've seen some speculation that this was all a ploy by Allen...that the team was marked "for sale" in order to determine a fair market value for purposes of Vulcan and PAM reaching an agreement. Even if the tersely-worded statements didn't cast doubt on that assertion, wouldn't that be a rather dumb move on Allen's part? Consider that his bargaining points were that the team was losing money, that nobody was going to buy, and that PAM should cut bait and sell to him at a reasonable price or else he'd be forced to do something drastic. To make that argument work, you'd need to have no valid offers, not a bunch of them. Worse, the Sonics sold at $350 million (and purportedly had a HIGHER offer which they turned down) and they have a broken-down arena and the worst lease agreement in the league (according to David Stern anyway). Last I heard the ballpark asking price for the Blazers was $300 million, but when the Sonics news broke wouldn't both parties assume that the Blazers, in a better situation when both arena and team are controlled by the same entity, would be worth more? Soliciting bidders would only confirm that. If this really was a scheme to determine market value, it looks like Allen only drove the price higher, which was both predictable and colossally stupid. Help me out here...I'm no expert. Is there something I'm missing?

--Dave (


Anonymous fatty said...

great news for now dave,let
me what game you wan't to do
memphis,g.state,or utah let me
know dude,also please comment
on the franchise player post.. later dave...

1:45 PM  
Blogger Ken said...

I think you are missing something, Dave. You are missing the fundamental fabric of certain people that makes them latch onto an idea (or wish/hope/fear in this case) and mold all the "facts" to fit their preconceptions no matter how far fetched or silly.

That's about as nicely as I can possibly put it.

7:25 PM  
Blogger Dave said...

I assume you mean with the "Paul did this to test the market" people? Or was it me. If so, please do correct me.

8:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Allen never had any intention of selling the team. Stern was brought in to convince PAM to sell the team to Allen. When they refused, Stern threw up his hands and blamed PAM for not being constructive.

Paul then convinced PAM that they would sell together,which allowed him to establish market value for the arena. This was a risky move - Allen can no longer declare bankruptcy because there were offers on the table, and PAM does not want to sell to him. Maybe Vulcan thinks they can force PAM to sell to them through harrassment and empty threats...if so, they are the dumbest investment firm in the history of business.

4:17 AM  
Blogger Ken said...

Sorry Dave,
I definitely meant those other guys.

6:33 AM  
Blogger BLAZER PROPHET said...

PA seemed genuinely interested in selling until the Sonics were sold. Since the chance the Sonics will move it leaves him with a lot of options- and most of them include sticking it to PAM.

7:10 AM  
Blogger Dave said...

At least the threat gave him more leverage. The thing is, if the team really is losing $33 million a year will he be able to convince PAM to drop the price that much next year in order to cover the loss or would he have been better off just buying the Garden back now (if that's his intention)?


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