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Just let me play devils advocate

On Sports

Before you close your mind about a few things, perhaps you ought to open up to a few other ways to look at them:

• The new athletic director at Oregon has been in the office for just a few weeks, but he's already won the AD of the year award. To get basketball coach Ernie Kent to agree to a contract with just a $1 million buyout was masterful.

In other words, Kent can be fired and get paid not for the several seasons that still could be left on his contract, but for approximately - or a little less than - one more season.

And this guy agreed to such a deal?

• And speaking of athletic directors … did the one at Oregon State miss the last few basketball seasons? Did he not notice that players are departing the program like rats scrambling off a sinking ship? Did he not listen to the former players who are openly disgusted with the direction of the program?

Trust me, nobody can figure this one out.

• The Portland Beavers opened their home season in front of more than 7,000 people in the midst of a chilly and wet week. Believe me when I tell you that this franchise is well-run and makes money. A lot of it, actually. And without a lot of whining about its lease, too.

• Speaking of such things, the Portland Winter Hawks are telling anyone who will listen (and there aren't many who will) that if they don't get some improvements to Memorial Coliseum, they might leave town.

Excuse me? You buy this team a year ago, you sit back and allow the worst, most embarrassing on-ice season in club history (you, in fact, trade veteran players to make things even worse), you promise the fans a new replay screen and don't deliver, you remove the team's games from radio -and now you want to be treated like a champion?

In short, Winter Hawks, you've done everything you can to make people care less about you. Now you want their help?

• All you Blazer fans who rooted so hard for your team to beat the Sonics on Saturday night, I know those pingpong balls probably don't mean anything to you. But the fact is, your team handed a 2.5 percent greater chance of winning the NBA lottery to the Sonics that night.

Doesn't sound like much, I admit. But if Seattle draws the top pick, you're going to always wonder if it was one of those 25 balls that were transferred Saturday night.

• It's way too early to make a major prediction, but I'm still guessing that if the Blazers don't end up with one of the top two choices, they're going to trade the pick.

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