OK, I'm sorry. I didn't really want to make fun of the Blazers in every column the last two weeks. Seriously. I mean, it's not much of a challenge anymore.
But when someone is just begging for it, you have to accommodate him. This time, it's not a pot-smoking player or even the malaprop machine of a coach.
Nope, this time we have to go all the way to the top and have a little fun with Paul Allen, the bewildering owner of this rapidly deteriorating franchise. Sorry, Paul, I like you. But you didn't think you were going to get off that easy, did you?
Allen, in a secondhand e-mail through a spokesman for one of his companies, Vulcan Inc., made this statement:
'As an owner, I take player behavior very seriously. We all expect a lot from our team, and the Blazers have to be accountable for doing what's right for the team, the fans and the community Ñ and players will indeed be held responsible. Let there be no mistake that unacceptable conduct will not be condoned. Everyone at the Blazers will tackle these issues head on Ñ and we are prepared to suspend players, levy heavy fines and trade or release a player if that becomes necessary. The community deserves a team of which we can all be proud and I am fully committed to improving the Blazers' conduct on and off the court.'
Paul, are you kidding me?
You've only recently found this religion, Paul. Because if those were core values of this organization, you never would have signed Ruben Patterson, a registered sex offender with anger management problems. You would have done what many other teams did with troubled Zach Randolph and Qyntel Woods Ñ pass them up. Not draft them.
You would have gotten fed up with Rasheed Wallace's act years ago. You'd have shipped him out. Bonzi Wells? Well, you'd have checked his background, found all the problems and not made the deal that brought him to Portland.
You can't expect players to change just because you pay them a lot of money. If players with no record of trouble come here and get into a jam, I don't think anyone can blame you for it. Hey Ñ stuff happens, in all organizations.
But when your general manager consistently Ñ and I mean year after year after year Ñ brings in players with rap sheets longer than their NBA Register listing, you're going to have problems.
Barely a day goes by that someone doesn't ask me what sort of hold Bob Whitsitt has on you that you haven't fired him, if merely for the Shawn Kemp trade.
Paul, I hear it's that Whitsitt is expert at getting you to buy into every major decision Ñ so you can't fault him without faulting yourself. That must be it. There is no other rational explanation.
Which means, Paul, that you ought to hold yourself a little more accountable and responsible. And you ought to tackle this issue yourself. Head-on.
Dwight Jaynes' sports talk show airs from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays on KPAM (860 AM).