Paul Allen insists he’s not going to sell the Portland Trail Blazers, but says this season is the most disappointing he’s had in 24 years as the team’s owner.
The billionaire co-founder of Microsoft posted an open letter to fans on the Blazers’ team website on Tuesday evening. In it, he reiterated what he’s said all season long, that the team is not for sale.
”I’m working hard to get this team back on track,” he wrote. ”No offers have been made to buy the team and none have been solicited.”
The Blazers wrapped up the lockout-shortened season 28-38 and out of the playoffs. Portland is operating with an interim general manager and is looking for a head coach – but the team has also collected up to four picks in the upcoming NBA draft and has freed up considerable cap space for free agency.
Allen said he will be financially sensible with the moves the team makes.
”One thing we are not going to do is to spend money like there is no tomorrow, and calls to do so just don’t make sense,” Allen said. ”I’ve tried that path before – it doesn’t work and is not sustainable. We will follow a judicious and sustainable path going forward.”
When the Blazers opened training camp in December, they were hit with bad news. All-Star guard Brandon Roy announced his retirement because of ongoing issues with his knees, former No. 1 draft pick Greg Oden had suffered another setback with his knees, and forward LaMarcus Aldridge needed a procedure to treat a heart condition.
Portland answered by signing free agent Jamal Crawford and making some other moves before Aldridge returned and the team got off to a fast start. But soon losses started to mount, and at the trade deadline the Blazers dismissed respected head coach Nate McMillan. The Blazers also traded starters Marcus Camby and Gerald Wallace, and waived Oden after five disappointing seasons.
”These things happen in sports. Injuries are part of the game. Sometimes you have bad luck. But as the 2011-2012 season played out, I was asking myself the same question I know a lot of you were asking: What happened to a season that had such promise?” Allen wrote. ”There are no easy answers for that.”
Allen confirmed he has interviewed one candidate for the general manager’s position personally. President Larry Miller said recently that acting GM Chad Buchanan would be considered.
”We’re moving forward thoughtfully because we must ensure we have the right fit,” Allen said. ”Ideally, we’d like to have someone in place before the draft and before we decide on a permanent coach, but finding the right executive may take time.”