Jody Allen

Silver Discusses Player Participation Policy, In-Season Tournament, More

The NBA’s new Player Participation Policy is designed to create the best possible product for the fans, commissioner Adam Silver told reporters, including Steve Aschburner of, at a press conference Wednesday.

The guidelines, which were approved on Wednesday by the Board of Governors, were pursued by “everyone in the league,” Silver said. That includes owners, management, coaches, the NBPA and some individual players. They’re focused on producing a better experience for paying customers at the arenas and more reliability for media rights holders.

“This is ultimately about the fans,” Silver said. “And that we’ve taken this (load management) too far. This is an acknowledgment that it has gotten away from us a bit.”

Silver has been working for years to overcome the problem of the league’s best players appearing in fewer and fewer games. Under the PPP, teams will be subject to hefty fines if they violate the policy by giving excess rest to their stars, who are defined as anyone who has made an All-Star or All-NBA team during the previous three seasons.

“That doesn’t mean we were turning the clock back, that players are expected to play through injuries or that players never need rest,” Silver said. “But there’s a statement of a principle in this league that, if you’re a healthy player, you’re going to play.”

There’s more from Silver’s press conference:

  • The commissioner acknowledged that the new in-season tournament, which will debut this fall, may take a while to resonate, Aschburner adds. Silver added the league is committed to a long-term approach with the event. “It’s a multi-season issue, to the extent we’re looking to create a new tradition,” he said. “… If we’re seeing early indications of success, we’re going to see a little ratcheted-up intensity.”
  • Silver repeated his distaste for trade demands like the ones issued this summer by Damian Lillard and James Harden, per Ira Winderman of The Sun Sentinel. Although the Trail Blazers and Sixers haven’t made much progress on moving their unhappy stars, Silver doesn’t believe the public declarations are good for the league. “In terms of trade demands, of course, don’t like them,” Silver said. “As a league, want players and teams to honor their contracts. And I’m watching both the situation in Portland and Philadelphia, and hope they get worked out to the satisfaction of everyone before the season starts. And I’m glad that things seem to have settled down somewhat, at least in terms of public discourse.”
  • Silver said the league won’t do anything to force the sale of the Trail Blazers, relays TV station KGW8. When Paul Allen died in 2018, his will stipulated that the parts of his estate, including the NBA team, must be sold. However, Silver complimented Paul’s sister, Jody Allen, for running the team in “a first-class manner.”

Trail Blazers Notes: Henderson, Draft, Billups, Lillard

Scoot Henderson‘s role in the Trail Blazers’ backcourt will be vastly different if Damian Lillard gets traded, but the former G League Ignite star plans to approach his rookie season the same way no matter what happens. In an interview with Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer, Henderson said he’s grateful for the advice Lillard has offered so far and he’s not watching the internet to check the status of trade talks.

“If he leaves, I’m going to just embrace that,” Henderson said. “I’m going to embrace being the point guard for the team. And that comes with practice. I don’t have my spot guaranteed; I know that. My goal is to get better every day at practice and get better game by game.”

Midway through the interview, members of the Hornets walked past and Brandon Miller stopped to ask Henderson about the shoulder injury he suffered in his first Summer League game. O’Connor questioned Henderson about why Miller was drafted ahead of him and whether sliding to No. 3 will provide any extra incentive.

“If I was the no. 1 pick I’d still feel the edge,” Henderson replied. “So just making sure everybody knows that that’s how I’m coming, and I’m coming up with a fiery edge for myself no matter where I went. I would’ve had the same edge if I went 1. My main focus is basketball and being the greatest version of myself. So, whether I was 1, 2, 50, I would still have that edge.”

There’s more on the Blazers:

  • Henderson made an extremely strong impression on rival teams with his Summer League performance, even though it was limited to 21 minutes, according to Chris Mannix of Sports Illustrated. Mannix said a couple representatives from other teams suggested that even the Spurs might eventually regret passing on Henderson to take Victor Wembanyama.
  • Portland coach Chauncey Billups admitted that Lillard’s trade request has brought a level of chaos to the summer, Mannix adds. Billups stated that he understands that Lillard needs to make the best decision for his career, and he complimented general manager Joe Cronin for how he has handled the situation. “You can’t control fate. So we’ll see how it plays,” Billups said. “But for me as a coach, there’s a lot of other guys on the team that I have to coach and that I have to be here for, that I have to mentor, I have to teach, and I want us to just continue to move forward, however we do that.”
  • Lillard posted an Instagram message Friday night to try to calm a social media controversy, per Larry Brown Sports. Lillard recently liked a tweet calling for Nike founder Phil Knight to buy the team from Jody Allen and convince Lillard to change his mind about being traded. On Instagram, Lillard called the incident a “mishap” and said he didn’t intend to disrespect Allen.

Northwest Notes: Lillard, Knight, Williams, Wojciechowski

After Trail Blazers point guard Damian Lillard floated a few destinations that would hypothetically appeal to him if he were to ask for a trade, his longtime backcourt mate CJ McCollum spoke with ESPN’s Alan Hahn, Zach Lowe and Jay Williams on “Get Up” about what he considers the best future trajectory for the Portland All-Star (YouTube video link).

McCollum, now with the Pelicans, believes the Heat would have the edge if Lillard were to request a trade, but says the Nets might also be an appealing fit for his former teammate.

“I’m going to preface this by saying Dame is my guy and I know he wants to be in Portland,” McCollum said. “He’s always talking about his affinity for bringing a championship to Portland… The obvious answer here is that if something (i.e. a trade) were to occur… Miami’s in the Finals right now, right? They have great culture, they have obviously (head coach) Erik Spoelstra, they have a young core… they have a need for what he brings to the table.”

There’s more out of the Northwest Division:

  • Current Trail Blazers owner Jody Allen has turned down a second proposal by Nike head honcho Phil Knight and Dodgers minority owner Alan Smolinsky to purchase the team. Bill Oram of The Oregonian writes that Knight, a unique fixture in the Portland sports world, would represent a worthy successor to Allen’s late brother Paul Allen, known for his passion about the Trail Blazers and his NFL franchise, the Seattle Seahawks.
  • Thunder rookie swingman Jalen Williams intends to play in this year’s Summer League, per Daniel Bell of BSO (Twitter link). The All-Rookie First Teamer enjoyed a standout inaugural NBA season, averaging 14.1 PPG on .521/.356/.812 shooting splits, along with 4.5 RPG, 3.3 APG, and 1.4 SPG across 75 contests.
  • Former Marquette head coach Steve Wojciechowski is looking forward to his new pro ball opportunity, serving as the head coach of the Jazz‘s NBAGL affiliate, the Salt Lake City Stars, per Eric Walden of The Salt Lake Tribune. “I’ve spent two years in Park City, and during those two years, the Jazz organization — Justin (Zanik) and Danny (Ainge) and those guys, and (former head coach Quin Snyder), who’s a good friend of mine — were very generous with allowing me to observe and watch them work,” Wojciechowski said. “I want to do a great job of creating a culture that mirrors the Jazz (on the Stars).”

Jody Allen Shuns Second Bid For Blazers From Knight, Smolinsky

Trail Blazers owner Jody Allen has been tasked with selling off most of the assets of her late brother Paul Allen and donating the money to charitable causes, but she has been reticent to offload the NBA franchise just yet.

According to Rachel Bachman of The Wall Street Journal, Nike CEO Phil Knight and Dodgers minority owner Alan Smolinsky recently made a follow-up offer to buy the franchise from Allen, a year after their initial $2 billion offer was rejected. Though Bachman does not indicate a dollar amount, she notes that Knight and Smolinsky increased their bid to keep up with the rise in sports team valuations.

“As Jody said publicly last year, the sports teams are not for sale,” Jason J. Hunke, spokesman for Paul and Jody Allen’s umbrella company Vulcan, said. Jody also inherited the NFL’s Seattle Seahawks from her brother. “That will eventually change pursuant to Paul’s wishes, but there is no preordained timeline for when that will happen. Interested parties can engage when we establish a sales process at some point in the future.”

According to Hunke, Allen’s estate team “balances an overall strategy for asset disposition with driving the best possible sales process and outcome for each individual asset and asset class. There are many different asset classes being managed to that end.” 

It appears that it could take 10-to-20 years to fully resolve the estate and establish a sale for the Trail Blazers and Seahawks, with Hunke calling that “a fair and accurate time frame.” The two clubs are worth an estimated $6.6 billion, per Bachman.

Bachman consulted with several lawyers familiar with complex estate sales. Many disputed such a lengthy window as being necessary.

“You would almost have to intentionally slow-walk it,” said Allan Cutrow, a partner at Mitchell Silberberg & Knupp LLP. “They don’t have to accept (Knight and Smolinsky’s offer), and they may not even have to negotiate it… But at the very least, you would think, barring something else in the (estate) document, that they would reach out to an investment banker and they have some duty to market this and get the best possible value.”

“[The] concept that a complex estate takes 10 to 20 years to be fully sorted out, that would be very unusual,” Andrew Mayoras, a trust and estate litigation attorney, said.

Bachman writes that the 30-year ground lease of the Trail Blazers’ current home arena, the Moda Center, will expire in 2025, and Allen could opt to leverage public funding for improvements. Bachman notes that, at least judging by language she shared in a recent email, it does not appear that Allen is looking to offload the team any time soon.

“As chair, my focus is building championship teams and managing the franchises for the long-term,” Allen wrote in an email to Bachman. “Today, I work regularly with the GMs, presidents, and coaches on significant sports, business, and organization decisions and have final say on strategic moves such as key hires, trades, and player extensions.”

Knight, worth over $40 billion, is hoping that a sale to him and Smolinsky will keep the team in Portland for the long haul.

Even while fielding oft-injured All-Star point guard Damian Lillard, the Trail Blazers have missed out on the playoffs in back-to-back years. They sport a cumulative record of 60-104 across the past two seasons. The club has the third pick in the upcoming draft, which could be used to either draft a promising young cornerstone or to acquire an impact player via trade.

Western Notes: Warriors, Blazers, Bledsoe, Kings, Dulkys

Speaking to Mark Medina of on Wednesday, Warriors president of basketball operations Bob Myers suggested he doesn’t expect to make any significant changes to the current roster before the 2022/23 season begins.

“I like our team and where it’s at,” Myers said of the defending champions. “I want to give the guys a chance to do it again.”

While Medina interprets Myers’ comments as a strong signal that the Warriors won’t seriously pursue a Kevin Durant trade, such a move was already considered a long shot. Golden State hasn’t shown much interest in sacrificing its depth or young prospects in order to make a run at another marquee player, Medina notes.

For his part, Myers is curious to see what the Warriors look like defending their title after coming off a couple non-playoff seasons in 2020 and 2021.

“It’s a good group. We’re lucky. It’ll be fun to see,” he told Medina. “We were really hunting last year. Now I guess we’re back to being the hunted, which I didn’t think we’d be. We’ll see. I think we can handle it.”

Here’s more from around the Western Conference:

  • Sean Highkin of The Rose Garden Report attempts to make sense of recent reports about Phil Knight‘s interest in buying the Trail Blazers and Jody Allen‘s statement insisting the franchise isn’t currently for sale. Observing that Knight is an ideal buyer from the NBA’s perspective, Highkin suggests more reports like the New York Post’s dubiously sourced hit piece on Allen could surface in the coming weeks and months in an effort to pressure her to sell.
  • It slipped through the cracks when Casey Holdahl of (Twitter link) first reported it earlier this month, but the Trail Blazers have stretched Eric Bledsoe‘s $3.9MM in dead money across three seasons rather than applying the full amount to their 2022/23 cap. The decision, which results in annual $1.3MM cap hits through ’24/25, moves Portland’s team salary for this season slightly under the luxury tax line.
  • Deividas Dulkys, who served as a player development coach for Memphis’ G League team in 2021/22, will take a player development role with the Kings, reports Donatas Urbonas of The former Florida State wing, who played professionally from 2012-21, was a member of the Lithuanian national team during 2012 Olympic qualifiers.

Jody Allen: Trail Blazers Not Currently For Sale

The Trail Blazers aren’t for sale and no discussions about the potential sale of the team are ongoing, chair Jody Allen said in a statement issued today by the team.

“As chair of both the Portland Trail Blazers and the Seattle Seahawks, my long-term focus is building championship teams that our communities are proud of,” Allen said. “Like my brother Paul, I trust and expect our leaders and coaches to build winning teams that deliver results on and off the court and field.

“As we’ve stated before, neither of the teams is for sale and there are no sales discussions happening.

“A time will come when that changes given Paul’s plans to dedicate the vast majority of his wealth to philanthropy, but estates of this size and complexity can take 10 to 20 years to wind down. There is no pre-ordained timeline by which the teams must be sold.

“Until then, my focus – and that of our teams – is on winning.”

Longtime Blazers owner Paul Allen passed away on October 15, 2018, resulting in control of the franchise being transferred to his sister Jody, the trustee and executor of his estate. As today’s statement notes, the plan following his death was for ownership of the Blazers to eventually change hands as part of an estate sale.

One report earlier this year suggested that some league insiders believe a Blazers sale will be completed by the end of 2023, and ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski revealed last month that Nike co-founder Phil Knight and Dodgers co-owner Alan Smolinisky were making an effort to buy the franchise with an offer of over $2 billion.

However, the Blazers indicated at the time of Wojnarowski’s report that the team wasn’t for sale, and Allen’s comments today suggest there are no plans for it to be sold in the short term. That will change at some point, but an exact timeline remains up in the air.

Phil Knight, Alan Smolinisky Trying To Buy Trail Blazers

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 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.

Blazers Rumors: Draft Picks, Grant, Cronin, Ownership

The Pelicans’ play-in victories last week were bad news for the Trail Blazers, who would’ve received New Orleans’ 2022 first-round pick if it had fallen between No. 5 and No. 14. Having missed out on that pick, which ended up at No. 15, Portland will instead receive Milwaukee’s 2025 first-rounder (top-four protected). That future pick won’t be as valuable in trade talks for a team looking to accelerate its rebuild this offseason.

According to Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report, it’s clear based on conversation with league personnel that the Blazers were operating under the assumption they’d have two lottery picks available, and there was a sense they’d try to use one of them to acquire an impact veteran like Pistons forward Jerami Grant.

“That was a big deal to them,” a Western Conference official told Fischer. “The expectation was certainly, ‘Once we get this pick, we’ll turn it into someone. We’ll overpay to get someone.'”

As Fischer and others reported at the trade deadline in February, the Pistons were seeking either two first-round picks or a first-round pick and a promising young player (such as Bulls forward Patrick Williams) in exchange for Grant. Detroit’s asking price will likely be similar this offseason, though there’s some skepticism it will be met, Fischer writes.

The Blazers’ willingness to overpay for a player like Grant will be diminished by the fact that they missed out on New Orleans’ lottery pick, according to Fischer, who says Portland hasn’t shown any desire to trade its own lottery pick, which will almost certainly land in the top eight.

Here’s more from Fischer on the Blazers:

  • Damian Lillard has indicated to the Blazers’ front office that he’d like to play alongside a “two-way, rangy” wing, sources tell Bleacher Report. In addition to Grant, Fischer names Aaron Gordon, Ben Simmons, and Jaylen Brown as players who would appeal to Lillard, though it’s unclear whether any of them will be available this offseason — Brown, certainly, appears to be off the table.
  • According to Fischer, interim general manager Joe Cronin appears likely to keep the Blazers’ GM job on a full-time basis. However, it’s possible the team will ultimately hire someone above him in the basketball operations hierarchy, like Philadelphia did by bringing in Daryl Morey to run a front office previously led by GM Elton Brand. Fischer’s sources are split on whether such a move is likely.
  • Since the regular season ended, multiple sources have suggested to Fischer 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, Fischer adds. Jody Allen – the sister of longtime Blazers owner Paul Allen, who passed away in 2018 – currently controls the team.

Blazers Notes: Johnson, Allen, Covington, Powell, Bledsoe

Rookie shooting guard Keon Johnson said on Monday that he’ll be out at least a couple more weeks due to an ankle injury, Casey Holdahl tweets.

Johnson was acquired by the Trail Blazers in the deal with the Clippers than sent Robert Covington and Norman Powell to L.A. The 21st pick of last year’s draft, Johnson has appeared in 15 games this season. He hasn’t seen action in an NBA game since January 9.

We have more on the Trail Blazers:

  • The incentive for the Blazers to make the deal with the Clippers was to cut payroll and get under the luxury tax, Jason Quick of The Athletic writes, but there might have been ulterior motive. It could be the first step toward Jody Allen selling the team, Quick speculates. Quick notes that the ground lease for the Moda Center runs through October 2025 and Blazers must notify the city by September 2024 of their intentions to extend or renegotiate the lease. However, there haven’t been any ongoing negotiations.
  • The fact that the Blazers didn’t get a first-round pick for Powell and Covington shows that offers they received weren’t as strong as anticipated, John Hollinger of The Athletic opines. He speculates that the back end of Powell’s five-year contract – he’ll take in $20.5MM in 2025/26 – likely scared some suitors. Additionally, many teams likely wanted to get a pick attached to Covington from Portland, which was eager to get out of the luxury tux.
  • Eric Bledsoe is unsure if he’ll remain with Portland after the trade deadline, Sean Highkin of the Bleacher Report tweets. He was also part of the deal with the Clippers, added for salary purposes. “It’s up in the air. I’m being professional,” Bledsoe said. “Come in and do my job like I always have, see where it goes.”
  • In case you missed it, the Knicks are reportedly interested in acquiring CJ McCollum.

Blazers Rumors: Lillard, Front Office, McCollum, Nurkic, Covington, More

Trail Blazers star Damian Lillard will become eligible for a two-year, $106MM extension during the 2022 offseason. That extension – which Lillard wants to lock in, per ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski – would begin in 2025/26 and would cover his age-35 and age-36 seasons.

Lillard and his agent need Portland’s next permanent general manager to sell team ownership on offering that super-max extension, according to Wojnarowski, who hears that the guard’s camp had concerns about Neil Olshey‘s willingness to recommend such an offer to Jody Allen. Chris Mannix of also hears that Olshey wasn’t sold on tacking two more years (at $51MM and $55MM) onto Lillard’s deal.

Although Lillard and his camp will be motivated to help the Blazers find a GM who is receptive to offering that extension, most of the top-level candidates who figure to draw interest from Portland aren’t enthusiastic about making that offer, says Wojnarowski. In fact, some of those potential candidates told Woj that they’d be more interested in the Blazers’ job if they could trade Lillard and rebuild, rather than extending the six-time All-Star.

According to Wojnarowski, Lillard’s camp is “privately selling the idea” of the Blazers trading some of their current players and continuing to build around Dame (on a new extension). However, candidates for the permanent general manager job in Portland believe they’ll need to sell themselves to team ownership, not to Lillard and his camp.

While it remains possible Lillard’s group will have some input in the GM choice, Wojnarowski suggests they’ve been “thwarted on several leverage plays” this year, including their preference for Jason Kidd as Terry Stotts‘ replacement and their desire to trade for Ben Simmons.

Here are several more rumors out of Portland:

  • The Blazers haven’t begun reaching out to potential candidates for the permanent GM job, according to Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report, who hears that there’s no concrete list of contenders yet beyond interim GM Joe Cronin. The organization is still deciding whether to hire a firm to research and recommend candidates, per Wojnarowski.
  • The Pelicans offered Jrue Holiday to Portland in 2020 in exchange for CJ McCollum and three first-round picks, according to Jason Quick of The Athletic. A deal involving McCollum remains possible, but the Blazers are considered more likely to move Jusuf Nurkic and/or Robert Covington, says Fischer, adding that the team is “presently known to be down on both players.”
  • Lillard has expressed interest since the 2020 offseason in a handful of defensively-minded wings, per Fischer. Besides Simmons, Lillard has also shown interest in playing with Jaylen Brown and Aaron Gordon, sources tell Bleacher Report.
  • According to Fischer, Lillard’s lower abdominal tendinopathy is an injury that has bothered him off and on for years. The All-NBA guard even considered surgery this past offseason to address the issue, Fischer adds.
  • There are several teams with interest in trading for Lillard, but three teams in that group told Wojnarowski they’d want to wait for the 31-year-old to request a trade before calling Portland, since the Blazers’ leverage would be reduced in that scenario. The Sixers have made an offer, but the Knicks haven’t, Wojnarowski adds. For his part, Lillard would have limited leverage to push for a specific landing spot if he asks out, since he still has three more years left on his current contract after 2021/22.
  • Multiple league sources with knowledge of the situation tell Fischer that some Blazers players this season have been frustrated with Chauncey Billups‘ “coaching demeanor,” as well as his offensive system. In the latest Hoop Collective podcast, ESPN’s Brian Windhorst, Ohm Youngmisuk, and Ramona Shelburne discussed the fact that Billups’ tendency to call out players publicly may rub the current generation the wrong way.
  • There have been whispers that Blazers owner Jody Allen might decide to sell her stake in the Blazers following the NBA’s next television agreement, says Fischer. If that’s the plan, there will be even more pressure on the team to make sure its next front office hire and big roster moves are the right ones.