Sources: Nike’s Knight makes an offer to buy Blazers

Nike founder Phil Knight and Los Angeles Dodgers co-owner Alan Smolinisky have submitted a written offer worth more than $2 billion to purchase the Portland Trail Blazers and are in serious talks to acquire the team, sources told ESPN on Thursday.

Knight and Smolinisky have entered into discussions with the Paul G. Allen Trust, which oversees the franchise, and those discussions are expected to continue, sources said.

Knight’s deep ties to the region — with Nike and his support of his alma mater, the University of Oregon — reflect the prospective ownership group’s desire to keep the team in Portland for the long term, sources said. .

Allen’s sister Jody has managed the trust since her brother’s death in October 2018. Sales of the NFL’s Blazers and Seattle Seahawks have long been thought to be part of a possible trust scheme.

Portland is considered one of the smallest media markets in the league, but the team has a long history of rabid fan support and regular season and playoff success. Forbes valued the Trail Blazers at $2.05 billion in its 2021 ranking, making them the 13th most valuable franchise in the NBA.

Another small-market team, the Minnesota Timberwolves, was recently sold for a $1.6 billion valuation.

Knight, 84, is considered one of the 25 richest people in the United States, with a value north of $50 billion. He was born in Portland, graduated from Oregon and stepped down as chairman and CEO of Nike in 2016 after 52 years at the helm of the company.

Smolinisky joined the Dodgers as a limited partner in 2019. He has success in commercial real estate and investing.

The Blazers are undergoing a franchise overhaul on the basketball side, including first-year general manager Joe Cronin and second-year coach Chauncey Billups.

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