“We expect the team to be put on the market.”
Those words are from Portland City Commissioner Nick Fish, who spoke to our John Canzano in a piece published Thursday on OregonLive.
The concern of the team’s sale is not necessarily new. What is new, and potentially disturbing, is Fish’s following concern.
“Fish is concerned that new Trail Blazers ownership might seek to relocate the team,” Canzano writes.
Canzano reports the Blazers current lease with the city of Portland runs through 2025, and “includes iron-clad language that the team stays through at least 2023.” The Blazers are well thought of in the NBA community, and on Wednesday their value as reported by Forbes was 14th among the 30 NBA teams, and the most valuable team in the Northwest Division.
Forbes cites the Trail Blazers recent new local television rights deal that was “more than double” their previous value.
JC points out that unlike the situation earlier this century with Seattle, the Trail Blazers don’t have any concerns around upgrading their home arena in order to stay. It’s more of a concern with the timing of it all, between the lease of the team expiring as early as 2023 (4 seasons from now), and the transition of new ownership coming to Portland.
Paul Allen, who passed away this past October, bought the Trail Blazers for $70 Million in 1988. He was the youngest owner in U.S. major sports at the time of purchase, at just 35 years old.