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Charles Fischer

Canzano: Trail Blazers' Fate Hangs in the Balance

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NBA franchise promotes Joe Cronin amid uncertainty.

 

 

The summer of 2006 was a busy time at One Center Court. The Trail Blazers secured Lamarcus Aldridge and Brandon Roy on draft day. They also hired a swath of interns, dispatching them on a variety of tasks.

 

Among them, young Joe Cronin.

 

Cronin was named Portland’s general manager on Tuesday. His “interim” tag was removed and he’ll be the GM of record when the franchise’s Draft Lottery fate is settled next week. Before that, though, Cronin was a basketball operations intern.

 

After that, he became a scout.

 

Then, salary-cap analyst.

 

Then, director of player personnel.

 

Before all that Cronin was a 6-foot-6, moppy-haired former high school basketball player from Colorado. Tuesday was a wonderful day for Cronin and his career path, but he’s not the most influential person in the franchise right now. Neither is All-Star guard Damian Lillard or team president Dwayne Hankins.

 

Unfortunately, it’s Bert Kolde.

 

Paul Allen’s former college roommate is the vice chairman of the franchise. Jody Allen is the trustee of her late brother’s estate. But it’s the Kolde, per insiders, who is steering the organization right now.

 

I fear none of this will end as it should.

 

https%3A%2F%2Fbucketeer-e05bbc84-baa3-43

 

A few things:

• Everyone believes the Trail Blazers are being positioned for a sale in the next 6-18 months. Insiders at Vulcan, Inc. tell me that Kolde has assumed the lead role on this and is carefully studying the ongoing sale of the Denver Broncos.

• The Trail Blazers own Moda Center but the City of Portland owns the land beneath the arena. The NBA franchise pays the city $1 a year and operates and maintains Memorial Coliseum as part of the arrangement. The sides are currently engaged in discussions about renewing the lease.

• The Blazers had the sixth-worst record in the NBA last season. They have a 9 percent chance of securing the No. 1 overall pick in the May 17 NBA draft lottery. They desperately need a big break.

 

The sale of the franchise will be a significant pivot point for the Blazers. The prevailing hope is that Kolde and Jody Allen won’t just sell to the highest bidder, but to a select owner or group that would have local ties and continue Paul Allen’s legacy.

 

Said one Vulcan, Inc. executive: “Bert doesn’t think like that. He will do whatever he can to get the most money to impress Jody. He’s a major wannabe. Both leagues — the NBA and NFL — view him as a problem.

 

“The sales process should be more holistic than just who will pay the most. Paul would want the best owner for the city and state and he would take less to make that happen. Bert not so much.”

 

The Broncos sale could complicate matters and raise expectations to an unrealistic level. The NFL team is currently owned by the Pat Bowlen Trust. Initial estimates were that the Broncos might sell for as much as $4 billion. That figure bloated to $5 billion this week.

 

Cronin won’t have a say in a potential sale.

 

Nor will the GM have input into the lease negotiations. I reviewed the document last week and ran it past several legal experts who agreed the lease should be a fairly easy re-negotiation. Both parties should be motivated to get it done. The complexities, however, are rooted in Memorial Coliseum and the master development plan for the area around Moda Center.

 

Should Memorial Coliseum be there?

 

Or not?

 

Could it be replaced with a new memorial to honor veterans? Could the lease agreement spark a massive development of the surrounding area? It should. But given the likely franchise sale, I doubt Kolde and Jody Allen are interested in collaborating with the city on a bold development vision for the arena district.

 

This should be a seminal moment for the city and NBA franchise. The neighborhood around Moda Center could finally be transformed into something amazing. But in order to do that, you need an invested and motivated brain trust.

 

Kolde is neither.

https%3A%2F%2Fbucketeer-e05bbc84-baa3-43

                    Bert Kolde, left, along with the late Paul Allen.

There are several clauses in the current lease that allow the Trail Blazers to sign a short-term extension and punt the negotiation down the road. The hope here is that the Blazers do exactly that and let whoever buys the NBA franchise negotiate a longer-term agreement.

 

Moda Center has good bones, a great location and decent aesthetic. It could be a special arena with some improvements. The fan base has been loyal, passionate and deserves it. The franchise is a goldmine with the right ownership.

 

Cronin was promoted to the permanent GM job on Tuesday. It’s a great story, rising from intern to boss in 16 crazy years. I wasn’t impressed with his work around the NBA trade deadline, but I’m skeptical that Cronin made those moves without Kolde whispering in his ear.

 

Portland landing No. 1 or No. 2 draft pick in the lottery?

 

Yes, please.

 

But more importantly, the Blazers need new ownership. The franchise also needs a new lease agreement that keeps it in Portland and ensures the development of the arena district. Which is only to say the sooner Bert Kolde is out of the way, the better.

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Mr. FishDuck

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I often will post a Canzano article that is emailed to me, but it is a ton of work.  I hate the way he writes, the tons of one-sentence paragraphs.  When you move the article over--everything has to be fixed and often I will have to combine sentences together. Now keep in mind that yours truly will use one-sentence paragraphs, but not this this extent.

 

One sentence paragraphs are good for occasional effect--that's it.

 

But the rest of the time it is space-eating nonsense that appears to be writing as if it was the way you think.  It is a popular form now and years back a writer left FishDuck because I took him to task for having eleven of these one-sentence paragraphs in his article.  "Sloppy writing," is what I called it.  Now he actually works for another site and guess what?  He writes in full paragraphs now.

 

Guess I was right?

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Mr. FishDuck

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I used to be a huge Blazers fan, but lately, like the past 25 years or so, I haven't really followed them. They do have a following, the Moda Center is often sold out for games, BlazersEdge is a popular site, and I see a lot of Trail Blazers license plates. What if the Trail Blazers are sold and become the new Seattle Super Sonics?

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If they are sold they may be moved elsewhere. That would be sad. Paul Allen was a good owner to have for our franchise. Be sad if they move. Been a season ticket holder since 1987.

 

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Because the Blazers are owned by a trust, rather than an individual, there is a fiduciary duty under the law to do whatever is in the best interests of the trust. Unless the trust says something like the trustee may take into account whatever is in the best interest of the city, their hands my be tied. Kolde or no Kolde. I suppose if all beneficiaries of the trust (whoever they are) agreed to a deal that netted them less than the optimal haul, that would work. But most people are not so generous.

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Nowadays I wonder how much star players seem to gravitate more towards the bigger market when free agency rolls around?  I'm sure they want to win too, but $$$ talks also.  Is Portland, the city, in the news too often for the wrong reasons the last few years?  Is it the rain?  Nice houses aren't cheap anywhere anymore, but you could get a pretty nice place with NBA star money compared to what it would cost for a house like that in L.A. or Miami or NYC or Chicago.  Lillard is awesome, why can't they build around him better?  Jokic is the MVP now in Denver, was he bad chemistry in Portland?

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Sam Bowie
Greg Oden. 

Even if the Blazers win the lottery they lose. 

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The Blazers have been mismanaged for years. I'm a former season-ticket holder, but I've lost all interest in the team and the franchise. I really don't care if they stay in Portland or move to Poughkeepsie.

 

The name Bert Kolde hadn't crossed my mind in years until skimming Canzano's article. I had to shake my head and laugh--Kolde is just another in a long line of incompetent boobs that could never bring an NBA title to Portland.

 

It will soon be 50 years in which Portland has whiffed on a championship. Well, maybe if that goofball Kolde can mismanage it, lousy basketball won't be Portland's problem anymore--it could be Poughkeepsie's. 

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On 5/11/2022 at 10:18 AM, Jules said:

Because the Blazers are owned by a trust, rather than an individual, there is a fiduciary duty under the law to do whatever is in the best interests of the trust. Unless the trust says something like the trustee may take into account whatever is in the best interest of the city, their hands my be tied. Kolde or no Kolde. I suppose if all beneficiaries of the trust (whoever they are) agreed to a deal that netted them less than the optimal haul, that would work. But most people are not so generous.

Apparently Canzano is not aware of fiduciary duty....shocker.

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I highly doubt the Blazers would move, its always in the top 7 or 8 fan bases in the NBA and has a large Oregon/Washington/Idaho/ Hawaii TV and radio market.

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On 5/11/2022 at 9:42 AM, Charles Fischer said:

NBA franchise promotes Joe Cronin amid uncertainty.

 

 

The summer of 2006 was a busy time at One Center Court. The Trail Blazers secured Lamarcus Aldridge and Brandon Roy on draft day. They also hired a swath of interns, dispatching them on a variety of tasks.

 

Among them, young Joe Cronin.

 

Cronin was named Portland’s general manager on Tuesday. His “interim” tag was removed and he’ll be the GM of record when the franchise’s Draft Lottery fate is settled next week. Before that, though, Cronin was a basketball operations intern.

 

After that, he became a scout.

 

Then, salary-cap analyst.

 

Then, director of player personnel.

 

Before all that Cronin was a 6-foot-6, moppy-haired former high school basketball player from Colorado. Tuesday was a wonderful day for Cronin and his career path, but he’s not the most influential person in the franchise right now. Neither is All-Star guard Damian Lillard or team president Dwayne Hankins.

 

Unfortunately, it’s Bert Kolde.

 

Paul Allen’s former college roommate is the vice chairman of the franchise. Jody Allen is the trustee of her late brother’s estate. But it’s the Kolde, per insiders, who is steering the organization right now.

 

I fear none of this will end as it should.

 

https%3A%2F%2Fbucketeer-e05bbc84-baa3-43

 

A few things:

• Everyone believes the Trail Blazers are being positioned for a sale in the next 6-18 months. Insiders at Vulcan, Inc. tell me that Kolde has assumed the lead role on this and is carefully studying the ongoing sale of the Denver Broncos.

• The Trail Blazers own Moda Center but the City of Portland owns the land beneath the arena. The NBA franchise pays the city $1 a year and operates and maintains Memorial Coliseum as part of the arrangement. The sides are currently engaged in discussions about renewing the lease.

• The Blazers had the sixth-worst record in the NBA last season. They have a 9 percent chance of securing the No. 1 overall pick in the May 17 NBA draft lottery. They desperately need a big break.

 

The sale of the franchise will be a significant pivot point for the Blazers. The prevailing hope is that Kolde and Jody Allen won’t just sell to the highest bidder, but to a select owner or group that would have local ties and continue Paul Allen’s legacy.

 

Said one Vulcan, Inc. executive: “Bert doesn’t think like that. He will do whatever he can to get the most money to impress Jody. He’s a major wannabe. Both leagues — the NBA and NFL — view him as a problem.

 

“The sales process should be more holistic than just who will pay the most. Paul would want the best owner for the city and state and he would take less to make that happen. Bert not so much.”

 

The Broncos sale could complicate matters and raise expectations to an unrealistic level. The NFL team is currently owned by the Pat Bowlen Trust. Initial estimates were that the Broncos might sell for as much as $4 billion. That figure bloated to $5 billion this week.

 

Cronin won’t have a say in a potential sale.

 

Nor will the GM have input into the lease negotiations. I reviewed the document last week and ran it past several legal experts who agreed the lease should be a fairly easy re-negotiation. Both parties should be motivated to get it done. The complexities, however, are rooted in Memorial Coliseum and the master development plan for the area around Moda Center.

 

Should Memorial Coliseum be there?

 

Or not?

 

Could it be replaced with a new memorial to honor veterans? Could the lease agreement spark a massive development of the surrounding area? It should. But given the likely franchise sale, I doubt Kolde and Jody Allen are interested in collaborating with the city on a bold development vision for the arena district.

 

This should be a seminal moment for the city and NBA franchise. The neighborhood around Moda Center could finally be transformed into something amazing. But in order to do that, you need an invested and motivated brain trust.

 

Kolde is neither.

https%3A%2F%2Fbucketeer-e05bbc84-baa3-43

                    Bert Kolde, left, along with the late Paul Allen.

There are several clauses in the current lease that allow the Trail Blazers to sign a short-term extension and punt the negotiation down the road. The hope here is that the Blazers do exactly that and let whoever buys the NBA franchise negotiate a longer-term agreement.

 

Moda Center has good bones, a great location and decent aesthetic. It could be a special arena with some improvements. The fan base has been loyal, passionate and deserves it. The franchise is a goldmine with the right ownership.

 

Cronin was promoted to the permanent GM job on Tuesday. It’s a great story, rising from intern to boss in 16 crazy years. I wasn’t impressed with his work around the NBA trade deadline, but I’m skeptical that Cronin made those moves without Kolde whispering in his ear.

 

Portland landing No. 1 or No. 2 draft pick in the lottery?

 

Yes, please.

 

But more importantly, the Blazers need new ownership. The franchise also needs a new lease agreement that keeps it in Portland and ensures the development of the arena district. Which is only to say the sooner Bert Kolde is out of the way, the better.

No thanks! Lost interest in the Blazers after Allen bought the team and then went on with the guy next to him sack all the great individuals who did such great work to make the Blazers who and what they were for so long before Allen basically bought them and put this team on the long downward spiral because he was always involved like he knew anything about the sport. Now his equal in ownership his sister who inherited everything is equally worse at this task of making the Blazers respectical.

 

Allen was the worst owner Portland could have ever gotten because he sucked at it. Just because your a Billionaire doesn't give you the right to bury the franchise that actually brought so much enjoyment to us fans. Now you have these fans that just don't get it and support this team and there losing ways. Its a lose lose situation and the NBA to me should be involved in procuring the right owner and it's to bad Knight wouldn't buy them. Either way the Blazers are losers and who wants to pay for that every year.

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I agree with most here(losing interest) as my wife and I were packaged game ticket holders way back in the day--Drexler Kersey Williams Duckworth etc etc--The Allen institute of poor Bball mnmgt forgot about defense, REBOUNDING and the total lack of inside scoring. the Off and on again stars like Roy and Lillard are not going to bring excellent basketball to any team unless its loaded with all stars.--rant over.

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On 5/11/2022 at 3:53 PM, MaiTaiDuck said:

No thanks! Lost interest in the Blazers after Allen bought the team and then went on with the guy next to him sack all the great individuals who did such great work to make the Blazers who and what they were for so long before Allen basically bought them and put this team on the long downward spiral because he was always involved like he knew anything about the sport.

Agreed. He wasn't Jerry Jones, actually worked hard to avoid publicity, but his basketball knowledge was well known. Unfortunately, who was going to tell the owner to back off?

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On 5/11/2022 at 3:53 PM, MaiTaiDuck said:

No thanks! Lost interest in the Blazers after Allen bought the team and then went on with the guy next to him sack all the great individuals who did such great work to make the Blazers who and what they were for so long before Allen basically bought them and put this team on the long downward spiral because he was always involved like he knew anything about the sport. Now his equal in ownership his sister who inherited everything is equally worse at this task of making the Blazers respectical.

 

Allen was the worst owner Portland could have ever gotten because he sucked at it. Just because your a Billionaire doesn't give you the right to bury the franchise that actually brought so much enjoyment to us fans. Now you have these fans that just don't get it and support this team and there losing ways. Its a lose lose situation and the NBA to me should be involved in procuring the right owner and it's to bad Knight wouldn't buy them. Either way the Blazers are losers and who wants to pay for that every year.

Paul Allen was a fan of NBA basketball that just happened to buy himself a franchise. He could of easily moved them to Seattle, but kept them in Portland.
 

Not many owners build arenas without any government assistance. That arena allows Portland to host events that would otherwise bypass Portland. Far from the worst owner for Portland by a long shot.

 

 

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Bert Kolde is the Jerry Jones of the NBA--no actual playing or hands-on management experience, but thinks he's smarter than everyone else. 

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On 5/12/2022 at 6:49 AM, FamilyofDucks said:

Bert Kolde is the Jerry Jones of the NBA--no actual playing or hands-on management experience, but thinks he's smarter than everyone else.

The late Paul Allen continues to mismanage the franchise, a pretty impressive feat actually. Kolde is his boy. A competent owner would have relegated a "talent" like Kolde to the hot-dog concessions. I say that with trepidation. Blazer fans would have unpalatable hot dogs to go along with their unpalatable basketball. 

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