Memo to Paul Allen: If you’re one of the richest men on the planet and CHOOSE to own a professional sports franchise, stop screwing your star players around over a couple thousand dollars.
According to the website Blazersedge.com, fans at the Portland Trail Blazers annual “Fan Fest” loudly cheered starting forward LaMarcus Aldridge during player introductions. They even chanted “Sign him! Sign him! Sign him!” to the delight of Aldridge and the squirming of Blazers GM Kevin Pritchard.
Portland fans are renowned for being among the most knowledgeable in sports. They are also among the most loyal. That simple Fan Fest was attended by more than 16,000 people.
Paul Allen has seen his personal fortune dwindle over the past several years. Once the second richest man in the world, Allen is now only #32 on the Forbes list of billionaires. Don’t feel too bad. Allen still has $10.2 billion in personal wealth. In fairness, Allen has been burned by paying NBA players high salaries in the past. His annual payroll once exceeded $100 million for a cast of underachieving criminals once referred to as the “Jail Blazers.” However, this collection of young players is NOT those guys. Led by Brandon Roy, Aldridge and Greg Oden, the Blazers went 54-28 last season and won the NBA’s Northwest Division. Just as importantly, there were zero character issues on that team and Roy and the rest have been model citizens.
Still, once burned, twice shy and Allen took forever to get an extension for Roy done. Aldridge’s seemingly inevitable extension is taking even longer. Maybe this weekends fan reaction will speed up the signing.