Nike’s iconic founder may soon be the owner of the Portland Trail Blazers.
Nike's Phil Knight and Los Angeles Dodgers co-owner Alan Smolinsky have placed an offer to purchase the Trail Blazers for more than $2 billion, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.
The sale has not been finalized, and discussions of the potential sale are reportedly still ongoing.
Nike founder Phil Knight and Dodgers co-owner Alan Smolinisky have made a $2 billion-plus written offer to purchase the Portland Trail Blazers, sources tell ESPN. Discussions are ongoing with the Paul Allen trust that's overseeing ownership of team. Story soon.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) June 2, 2022
Longtime Trail Blazers owner Paul Allen died in 2018, and control of the team went to his sister through a trust. Speculation of a sale has been swirling for some time.
The Trail Blazers confirmed in a brief statement to ESPN that Knight and Smolinsky made an offer, but insisted that the "team remains not for sale." NBA commissioner Adam Silver said on Thursday night ahead of Game 1 of the NBA Finals that the team will be sold "at some point," though he's not sure when.
Adam Silver says that Jody Allen, the trustee of the Portland Trail Blazers, has to sell the team at some point in the future. He says he does not know when that will happen, and that Allen has been a “great steward” for the franchise and that his preference is the team stays.
— Tim Bontemps (@TimBontemps) June 3, 2022
While nothing with Knight’s bid for the team is finalized, such a deal would undoubtedly keep the team in Portland for the foreseeable future. Nike headquarters are located about 15 minutes from the Moda Center in Beaverton, Oregon, and it’s hard to see Knight wanting to leave the region after building up Nike in the Pacific Northwest in recent decades.
Knight still serves as the chairman emeritus with Nike. It's unclear how his role with the company would continue should he take over the Trail Blazers, as the NBA has a longstanding apparel deal with the company.
According to Forbes, the Trail Blazers were valued at $2.05 billion last year, the 13th most in the league. They sit just behind the Miami Heat, who are valued at $2.3 billion, and ahead of the Sacramento Kings at $2 billion.
The Utah Jazz were the last team to undergo an ownership change after Ryan Smith purchased a majority stake in the franchise in 2020 for about $1.66 billion. Marc Lore and Alex Rodriguez are in the process of purchasing the Minnesota Timberwolves and WNBA's Minnesota Lynx for $1.5 billion.
There is no known timeline for the Blazers sale, and it’s unclear if there are any other ownership groups preparing to make a rival bid.