If or rather when the Portland Trail Blazers are made available for purchase, they already have a significant buyer lined up.
According to a report Thursday by ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, Nike CEO Phil Knight — along with Los Angeles Dodgers part-owner Alan Smolinisky — has offered to purchase the Trail Blazers at a price over $2 billion.
Per a Trail Blazers spokesman, the team is not currently for sale, but according to a report by ESPN’s Tim Bontemps, NBA commissioner Adam Silver has said that “Jody Allen, the trustee of the Trail Blazers, has to sell the team at some point in the future.”
Per Bontemps, Silver also said that the preference is for the Trail Blazers to remain in Portland, making Knight arguably the ideal candidate.
A Portland, Oregon native, not to mention one of the 25 richest people in the United States, Knight has deep ties to the region.
He graduated from the University of Oregon, co-founded Nike, which is headquartered in Beaverton, Oregon, and served as chairman and CEO of Nike for 52 years before stepping down in 2016.
Per Wojnarowski, Knight has a “long, close relationship with Silver,” and both Knight and Smolinisky have talked with the league office about the possibility of purchasing the Trail Blazers.
Per Sportico, the Trail Blazers are the 13th-most valuable NBA franchise, at just over $2 billion ($2.07 billion).
Jody Allen has managed the Paul Allen Trust that oversees the franchise since her brother Paul Allen’s death in 2018.
The trust also manages the NFL’s Seattle Seahawks.
According to Wojnarowski, several prospective ownerships groups have expressed interest in purchasing the Trail Blazers, but the Knight-led group appears to have more “cache and star power in the Pacific Northwest” than any other.