5:14pm: The Blazers confirmed in a statement that Knight made an offer but said the team is not for sale, Wojnarowski tweets.
Knight and Smolinisky have been engaging on the purchase bid with the Paul Allen Trust and league office, as have other prospective groups. Despite the Blazers’ statement, Knight and Smolinisky are expected to continue their pursuit, Wojnarowski adds in another tweet.
2:18 pm: Nike co-founder Phil Knight and Dodgers co-owner Alan Smolinisky are attempting to purchase the Trail Blazers with a $2 billion-plus written offer, sources tell ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (Twitter link). Talks about the possible transaction are still ongoing, Woj reports.
Knight’s presence in the proposed ownership group “speaks to its desire to keep the Blazers in Portland,” says Woj (via Twitter). Knight, 84, is a Portland native and one of the wealthiest people in the world at $47.4 billion, according to Forbes.
Smolinisky, 42, is a real estate investor who also owns the Palisadian-Post newspaper. He joined the ownership group that purchased the Dodgers in 2019, according to an MLB.com press release.
After longtime Blazers owner Paul Allen passed away in October of 2018, his trust went to his sister, Jody Allen, who’s the current controlling owner of the team. There were whispers and speculation during the 2021/22 season that Allen might put the Blazers up for sale at some point in the near future.
After Portland’s season ended in April, multiple sources suggested to Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report that the Blazers could begin exploring the market for new ownership as early as this summer. Some league insiders believe a sale of the franchise could be completed before the end of 2023, per Fischer.
The Blazers have an important summer ahead after a disappointing season saw them finish 27-55, but nothing will be more important than a potential change in ownership. Portland controls the Nos. 7, 36, and 59 picks in the upcoming draft, and the front office, led by GM Joe Cronin, will have to decide the best pathway to become a championship contender with franchise player Damian Lillard.