Just wonderingÉ- nDid you hear the ESPN broadcasters Friday night during the Blazers' loss at Seattle? During the second half, George Karl said what a whole lot of people around the country must have been thinking: 'Portland is painful to watch.'

Later, Tom Tolbert marveled at how disorganized the Blazers were against Seattle's zone defense.

And people wonder why there are thousands of empty seats in the Rose Garden.

nSpeaking of that Seattle loss, will it cause owner Paul Allen to spurn the advice of all his accountants?

If there's one thing that might push Allen to reopen his checkbook and decide against that new frugality, it's a bad defeat at the hands of the Sonics Ñ his hometown team. And even though I've grown weary of saying it, any major trades for the Blazers probably would require Allen to scuttle his plans for getting near the salary cap.

All the people who are touting that rumored deal with Dallas have told you the salaries work for a trade. OK, they do. But they don't work in conjunction with Allen's desire to get near the salary cap.

That rumored trade, sending Rasheed Wallace and Bonzi Wells to the Mavericks for Antawn Jamison and Michael Finley, would require the Blazers to assume about $124 million of long-term debt Ñ something that Allen has repeatedly indicated he would not do. After this season, Finley ($66 million) and Jamison ($58 million) have four seasons left on their contracts.

I'm not sure Allen can stand to sit back and watch this team's downward spiral, but I'd be quite surprised if all of a sudden he'd want to sentence himself to long-term cap problems for players who are less than NBA All-Stars.

Unless Wallace can be dealt for a couple of players also in the final seasons of their contracts, we're probably stuck with him.

nIs there a football player left on the planet who doesn't understand that you're going to be penalized if you make that throat-slitting gesture after a big play?

I watched Chad Johnson get nicked for it last week after scoring a touchdown for the Cincinnati Bengals, and this week it's Oregon safety Keith Lewis. And seriously, after a player does that Ñ wouldn't you want to sit him down for a few plays? I mean, it's the ultimate me-before-team statement.

nIs that parity in the Pacific-10 Conference or mediocrity? Honestly, Arizona over Washington? How does that happen? And really, looking back Ñ how did USC lose to California? How did Stanford beat anybody? Why can't Arizona State win more often?

nDon't you think the best thing that's happened for the Blazers this season has been the new play-by-play voice on television, Mike Barrett? Hey, he's not an annoying homer. He doesn't yell and scream at you. He doesn't insult your intelligence.

And I can't believe he's getting away with it.

Contact Dwight Jaynes at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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