What, you expected Paul Allen to do the right thing?
Make no mistake, within the gray area of unwritten rules of sports, there is a basic tenet that you simply don't keep good employees from interviewing for better jobs. The right thing was for the Trail Blazers to allow Maurice Cheeks to interview for the Philadelphia 76ers' coaching job.
The guy spent 18 years with that organization. He still has a beautiful house there. For Cheeks, Philadelphia is home. And he's worshiped there the way Clyde Drexler is loved in Portland. I mean, if the guy is crazy enough to want to coach Allen Iverson, let him go.
I feel a little sorry for Cheeks. The guy doesn't even have an agent or an adviser to explain his leverage in this situation. Seriously, he has enough power to have forced the team to allow an interview. But after all these years in the NBA, he's still very naive.
From a basketball or business standpoint, what the Blazers did was very wrong. I don't care if it's sports or widgets, there's no point in having people work for you if they'd rather be somewhere else. If Cheeks would be happier in Philadelphia, you owe him the opportunity to go home.
Besides, national anthem help notwithstanding, there are dozens of better coaches than Cheeks. Maybe hundreds. And what a graceful way of getting rid of a coach at a time when you're looking for a new general manager. Every GM should hire his own coach.
I'm not sure how the search for a new president and general manager is going, by the way. Allen's travels have, according to one source, taken him to the French Riviera and Naomi Campbell's birthday party. I'm not sure if Chris Wallace or Ernie Grunfeld were invited.
I'm beginning to wonder about Paul Allen. Even though things haven't gone well for him in the last few years, he's still listed as the world's fourth-richest man. He's still got about $20 billion, and his Charter Communications stock is beginning to make a comeback.
Yet he laid off 100 people, about 20 percent of his work force, last week at Vulcan Inc. near Seattle. I confess I don't know the particulars. But this is the same man who laid off about 30 very nice people last year when he snuffed out Action Sports Cable Network in Portland. And a few more when he killed off the Portland Fire.
Hey, I understand business. I would never expect him to risk his personal financial fortune for others. But I find it repulsive that a man who is said to have spent something in the neighborhood of $17 million on a party for his Hollywood pals, someone who reportedly spent $7 million on his own custom submarine to go with the 300-foot yacht, someone who frittered away $100 million on a mediocre basketball team last season, would put hardworking people out of work whenever he feels like it.
Paul , it's not like you need these companies. You've got more bankroll than you can blow on a fleet of submarines. But if you start a business, understand that it is made up of people, not tokens on a Dungeons and Dragons board.
I know it's his legal right to do whatever he wants with his money, but those billions don't buy integrity or character. Or trust. And that's why I still don't know if we should believe him when he says he wants to clean things up in Portland. Honestly, does he? Or is he just saying what he knows this city wants to hear?
Is there evidence that we can trust Paul Allen to do the right thing?