Barely a week goes by when I don’t get a call, email or text advising me of a rumor involving the possible or pending sale of the Portland Trail Blazers. And before we get any further, I will tell you that word from the franchise, from the top down, has repeatedly been that the team is not for sale and that deceased former owner Paul Allen’s sister, Jody Allen, is not interested in selling at this point.
I respect that.
But, I would offer that it probably wouldn’t be good business to advertise that the team is for sale. Such things create uncertainty among players and other employees that may not be conducive to a winning environment. Players, especially, are very much interested in a team's owner and particularly his commitment to winning and spending money to do so.
In fact, when Paul Allen bought the team from Larry Weinberg on May 31, 1988, it came as a complete surprise. Nobody had any idea the team was even on the market until Allen showed up for the news conference.
There is little doubt, if the franchise were to be put on the market, who would be the early odds-on favorite to buy it. That would be Larry Ellison, the co-founder of Oracle Corporation. Ellison has attempted to buy three NBA teams, the Golden State Warriors, New Orleans Pelicans and Memphis Grizzlies.
And if he bought the Blazers, he would become the richest owner in the NBA, surpassing the Clippers’ Steve Ballmer by about $15 billion. Ellison’s net worth has been estimated at $64.5 billion, which would make him the sixth-richest person in the world. He financed the winning sailboat in the 2010 America's Cup and actually crewed on that craft. He is also a licensed pilot who owns fighter jets.
He is said to own the sixth-largest yacht in the world and it has a basketball court on it. ESPN once described him as “the craziest human this side of Mark Cuban” and “Cuban to the fifth power.”
I'm not sure if that's good or bad.
Of course this is all just speculation. Ellison has attempted to buy teams previously and failed and nobody knows if the Trail Blazers will ever be placed on the market.
But if they are…