The Portland Trail Blazers continue to remain in the news cycle despite being mostly done with their offseason, thanks partly to Jody Allen. Here’s what’s been going on in Rip City recently:
Jody Allen reiterates that the Portland Trail Blazers are not currently for sale and more recent news
Team owner Jody Allen has yet again insisted that the team is not for sale in a public statement:
“As chair of both the Portland Trail Blazers and the Seattle Seahawks, my long-term focus is building championship teams that our communities are proud of,” Allen wrote in a statement released Tuesday. “Like my brother Paul, I trust and expect our leaders and coaches to build winning teams that deliver results on and off the court and field.
“As we’ve stated before, neither of the teams is for sale and there are no sales discussions happening.”
It seems as if Allen is trying to drive up the price on the team. Nike co-founder Phil Knight and his partner and Los Angeles Dodgers part-owner, Alan Smolinisky, offered more than $2 billion and were turned down. Forbes has the Blazers valued at $2.05 billion and, according to Forbes’ Mike O’Zanian, they have an operating income of $19 million.
In the same statement, Allen expressed that it could take a decade before either the Trail Blazers or the Seahawks are sold. Shortly after that, a New York Post article came out that dragged her name through the mud, but Lillard himself was quick to come to Allen’s defense and refute at least the part that concerned him.
Allen is seemingly playing a game of chicken against one of the powerful people in sports, the NBA itself, and perhaps even the interests of her own late brother. It’ll be interesting to see how things shake out.
Damian Lillard extended his contract. This was something that needed to take place and all of Rip City can breathe a sigh of relief now that it’s been finalized. The contract is for an additional two years at $127 million, keeping him in Portland until the 2027 offseason. Giving Lillard this extension was basically a no-brainer. The most loyal and greatest player this team has had since Clyde Drexler deserved this and more.
Las Vegas Summer League notes
Portland Trail Blazers fans hoping to see an early glimpse of what Shaedon Sharpe can do were quickly let down when a shoulder injury sidelined him five minutes into his first game. He was later ruled out for the remainder of Summer League, but it’s no reason to panic when it comes to his long-term health at this point. The team is being wisely cautious to the dismay of supporters who were hoping to see what the kid was made of, as those five minutes gave him the most tape he’s had against real competition since high school.
Keon Johnson, who was acquired at the trade deadline, has by far been Portland’s Summer League MVP, having put up scoring outputs of 21, 12, and 11 points. The Summer Blazers will wrap up their Las Vegas trip against the Houston Rockets on Thursday evening, July 14.
And to top if off, second-round draft pick Jabari Walker has been signed to a standard NBA contract. Playing in Vegas during Summer League, he has earned this having averaged 13 points, 8.3 rebounds and one assist per contest. His stellar two-way play vaulted him right past a two-way contract and into a three-year, partially guaranteed deal, a rarity for a player picked as late as he was in the draft.
One does have to wonder though if this is a sign that a trade is yet to come, as the Blazers are clogged at power forward with Walker, Greg Brown III, Trendon Watford, Justise Winslow and Jerami Grant. What Portland desperately needs is another center in case Jusuf Nurkić and the already undersized Drew Eubanks were to go down. Future Hall of famer Dwight Howard is still available and would provide the needed height and strength needed at the position. Or they could even bring back Hassan Whiteside.
Walker’s signing with a portion of their remaining mid-level exception affords the Blazers the flexibility needed to either target another player in free agency or in trade if they so choose.