For the Blazers, a different kind of mania

I've been following the Portland Trail Blazers for decades, and never have I seen the local media go after the franchise the way OPB does here. Two reporters looking into the recent hiring of Chauncey Billups as head coach go right for the throat with their report, which portrays the team's investigation into Billups's past as a farce.

The team really, really wants the 1997 rape allegation against Billups and his then-teammates to fade away, but obviously there are those in town who aren't going to let that happen. The brand has been damaged by bringing him in, and the full extent of the harm is not yet known.

Meanwhile, I'm also surprised at how many basketball fans around the country are taking as a given that Damian Lillard, one of the Top 5 players the team has ever had, is going to be traded because he's unhappy here. The internet is filled with one ridiculous trade scenario after another, but the common thread is that Dame's leaving Portland.

Both of these serious problems should be laid at the feet of the team's unlikable general manager, Neil Olshey, but there is no sign that the owner, Jody Allen, who inherited the Blazers from her brother, is going to give Olshey his much-deserved walking papers. To her, the team is probably just numbers on a spreadsheet full of weird toys that her brother had.

Anyway, it seems like stormy weather ahead for the Rip City set. I still fret that the team may be leaving town in a few years.


  1. Blazers are a small-market team that can’t land big-time free agents, nor keep the talent it develops. They will
    continue to be above average, just good enough to make the playoffs, but not good enough to go very deep.

    All Chauncey Billups need do is be better than the last regime and the rape scandal will fade away quickly.

    As for the franchise moving, just a matter of time. Seattle seems a likely destination.

  2. You almost have to wonder whether this is all a scheme to sour Blazer fans so they make it easier to move the team now that Dame wants out.


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