,Phil Knight Is Trying to Buy the Portland Trail Blazers
Nike co-founder and chairman emeritus Phil Knight has never been afraid to make a splash, and he made a huge one in the NBA this week by offering to buy the Portland Trail Blazers. Per a report from ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, Knight and Los Angeles Dodgers co-owner Alan Smolinisky bid over $2 billion for the franchise.
Nike founder Phil Knight and Dodgers co-owner Alan Smolinisky have made a $2 billion-plus written offer to purchase the Portland Trail Blazers, sources tell ESPN. Discussions are ongoing with the Paul Allen trust that's overseeing ownership of team. Story soon.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) June 2, 2022
Yesterday, Knight and Smolinsky were in discussions with the Paul Allen trust that oversees the Blazers. Allen, a co-founder of Microsoft passed away in 2018 and the trust, run by his sister Jody has handled the affairs of both the Blazers and the NFL's Seattle Seahawks – whom Allen also owned – but it seems as if things have cooled slightly, with the Blazers issuing a short statement that the team was not for sale.
Blazers statement: An offer was made by Phil Knight. The team remains not for sale.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) June 2, 2022
Regardless of the Blazers' statement, Knight and Smolinsky are expected to continue their pursuit of the franchise and seem to have the support of NBA commissioner Adam Silver. Per the terms of the trust, the Trail Blazers will have to be sold eventually – and Knight, a true-blue Oregonian would be looking to keep the team in Portland instead of relocating it, which Silver has stated would be the NBA's preference as well.
'I don't know all the specifics of Paul Allen's trust,' Silver told ESPN. 'What I understand is that Jody Allen, who is Paul Allen's sister, is the trustee of the estate and that at some point, the team will be sold. I don't have any sense of the precise timing. I read that same statement today in which she or someone on behalf of the estate said the team is not currently for sale. But at some point it will be for sale. This is a hugely complex estate, and although it's been several years, these things take time.'
Knight can certainly afford to purchase the franchise – he's one of the 25 wealthiest men in the United States, and his net worth is north of $50 billion. Combined with the cash power of Smolinsky, who made his money in real estate and investing, the two have plenty of capital to cash out Allen's estate. We have a feeling Knight would love to put Trail Blazers star Damian Lillard in Nike shoes as well! Keep it locked here for more info as the story continues to develop.