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Trail Blazers not exactly a cash cow these days

Portland Trail Blazer executives maintain that the Rose Garden was only a drain on Paul Allen's bottom line with his Trail Blazers.

But the Trail Blazers have money-losing issues that go far beyond the now-forfeited Rose Garden.

In its annual assessment of NBA team values, Forbes magazine three weeks ago said that the Blazers lost $47 million during the 2003-2004 season Ñ one of five teams to lose money and by far the biggest money-loser. The magazine also listed the Blazers as the only one of 29 NBA teams to have declined in overall value from the previous year Ñ from $256 million to $247 million.

Trail Blazer President Steve Patterson discounted Forbes' numbers, which often are educated guesses because most NBA teams are not public companies.

'I don't put much credence in the Forbes report; it's full of false information every year,' he said. 'It's like reading Mad magazine. It's about that close to reality.'

But the Blazers are losing money, Patterson said. 'Oh yeah, I've never hid that fact.'

$47 million a year?

'A lot more than that.'

Ñ Todd Murphy