What the Blazers’ bid means for the Seahawks, also owned by the Paul G. Allen Trust


What the Blazers' bid means for the Seahawks, also owned by the Paul G. Allen Trust

Reports Thursday that a group led by Nike founder Phil Knight had submitted a written bid to buy the Portland Trail Blazers for more than $2 billion inevitably fueled speculation about the Seahawks — both teams owned by the Paul G .Allen Trust.

But a source close to the situation insisted Thursday that nothing has changed at the Seahawks — the team is not for sale and there is no indication it will be anytime soon.

And it turns out the blazers might not be for sale either. At least for now.

A few hours after multiple media outlets – including ESPN and the New York Times – reported on Knight’s offer, the Blazers released a statement that said: “An offer has been made by Phil Knight. The team remains unsaleable.”

Maybe it’s just a bargaining chip. Or semantics.

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver was asked about the report of the Blazer bid in a press conference ahead of Game 1 of the NBA Finals Thursday night, saying, “Eventually, the team will be sold. I have no sense of the exact timing.”

And ESPN reported shortly after the statement that Knight and his group, which includes Los Angeles Dodgers partner Alan Smolinsky, “are expected to continue pursuing the team.”

Speculation about the future of both teams has continued since Allen died in October 2018.

His sister Jody Allen then took over the management of the trust – her official Seahawks title is “Chair of the Seattle Seahawks”.

Bert Kolde, a childhood friend and longtime associate of Paul Allen, is the vice chairman of both the Seahawks and the Trail Blazers.

As ESPN reiterated Thursday, “there has long been a belief that the sale of the NFL’s Blazers and Seattle Seahawks is part of an eventual plan for the trust.”

In fact, within days of Paul Allen’s death, reports surfaced that the Seahawks might be for sale.

A report by Portland-based writer and talk show host John Canzano last week explained that the trust, established in 1993, has instructions that it must be liquidated with the proceeds to go to Paul Allen’s “passion projects.”

There has been some speculation that the policy says this must be done within 10 years of Paul Allen’s death. But that has not been confirmed.

Canzano further reported last week that “insiders expect the Blazers to be positioned for auction in the next 6-18 months.” And ESPN reported Thursday that “several groups” have told the NBA they’re interested in buying the Blazers when they go on sale.

The 84-year-old Knight has deep ties to Oregon and one reason for his interest in the team is to ensure the Blazers stay in Portland. Silver said Thursday night his “preference” is for the Blazers to stay in Portland, too.

The team has a lease with the city that expires in 2025 and includes reportedly “iron-clad” language that the team will remain in Portland through 2023.

Jody Allen has not given interviews since taking over the Seahawks in 2018, a silence that has helped fuel speculation about the future of the two sports franchises the trust owns.

But the team has portrayed her as actively engaged in team functions in recent months. She notably took part in portions of the NFL draft last month, snuggling up with coach Pete Carroll and general manager John Schneider. She also released a strongly worded statement supporting Russell Wilson’s trade to Denver.

And the NFL does not allow the Seahawks to be up for sale soon.

At last week’s NFL spring meetings in Atlanta, Commissioner Roger Goodell was asked about the Seahawks and whether the trust dictates the team’s sale. “I don’t see an immediate change of ownership,” Goodell said.

Interestingly, the Broncos are the only NFL team up for sale.

The team will reportedly hold a second round of bids by potential owners on Monday, with the idea that bidding will start at around $4 billion, but with an auction process that could increase a final bid to around $5 billion .

The Seahawks, bought by Paul Allen for $194 million in 1997, were valued at $3.5 billion by Forbes Magazine, Decth in the NFL.

The Blazers were valued at $2.05 billion by Forbes last year.

Paul Allen bought the Blazers in 1988 for $70 million.

Paul Allen, who died on October 15, 2018 at the age of 65 of complications from non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, was not married and had no children, and his will listed Jody Allen and her three children as beneficiaries.

“I have been given the responsibility of managing Paul’s fortune in service of his vision for the future,” Jody Allen was quoted as saying in a statement the week after Paul Allen’s death. “I will do everything I can to ensure Paul’s vision is realized, not just for years but for generations.”

That statement also noted that Jody Allen was given responsibility for overseeing the execution of his will and managing his affairs with tax authorities and parties with an interest in his projects.

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