I've made it a policy in my life not to tell others what to do. I try hard to live and let live. In fact, it's hard enough, most of the time, to run my own life, let alone someone else's.
But I'm going to make an exception in this case, because I think what I have to offer is a benefit to the person in question and to all of Portland. And if I'm going to solve someone else's problem, better it be a billionaire's than just an average Joe's.
Paul Allen, I know how to get you out of this mess. I know how to stop your financial bleeding and your emotional breakdown. Along the way, it's going to give the Trail Blazers their best chance to recapture the hearts and minds of Portland sports fans.
I don't have a lot of time, Paul, so listen closely. I'm being dead serious here. This can be done to the satisfaction of all concerned.
The first thing you have to do, Paul, is sit down for a cup of coffee with the owner of the Seattle SuperSonics, Howard Schultz. I'm sure he'll pick up the tab.
Schultz hasn't owned the team all that long and, frankly, he probably hasn't enjoyed his tenure as owner very much, either. The Sonics aren't drawing well and are fortunate to have a .500 winning percentage. The revered coach, Nate McMillan, doesn't like his roster, and it appears the fans don't care for it much, either.
What you're going to do, Paul, is make Schultz an offer Ñ it doesn't have to be too big Ñ for his team. Allow him to make a few bucks more than he paid for the franchise a couple of years ago and move on. Running coffee shops is a profitable living, and he can go back to being in private business Ñ where he will take a lot less heat in the sports sections.
Now, Paul, you turn around and sell the Blazers. You'll be able to sell them for more than what you're going to have to pay for the Sonics, and you'll get a great return on your original investment in the Blazers. You make out well on both ends of the deal.
And think about all the money you'll save just in charter flights from Seattle to Portland. That alone has to make the deal attractive. And seriously, I know you wanted to buy the Sonics in the first place, but Barry Ackerley wasn't ready to sell the team back in those days, so you went after the Blazers.
Now is your chance to get out of this town while the getting is good. And to run a team in your hometown. Before the Blazers really hit the rebuilding skids. While they are still winning half their games.
And as far as this franchise is concerned, there are plenty of potential buyers who know what a great pro basketball market this is. In fact, I know there are local people who would love to get their hands on the Trail Blazer franchise and run it the right way.
What the Portland Trail Blazers really need right now is a fresh start. From the top down. And this is really the best way. The cleanest way. Let a new group deal with the residue of Bob Whitsitt's failed no-chemistry experiment. Let a new bunch deal with players who don't want to play and a coach who can't coach. And no hard feelings, Paul, at all. I like you Ñ it's why I'm butting into your business. You spent a lot of money here to try to bring a winner to Portland, and it almost worked.
It's time now for us to move on. Time for you to move on, too. And who knows? I think you could even get away with hiring Whitsitt to run your Sonics.