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NBA commissioner on eventual sale of Blazers: Jody Allen operating 'team in a first-class manner'

Allen, chair of the Blazers and trustee of her late brother Paul Allen's estate, has said the team is not for sale though the time will come "when that changes."

PORTLAND, Ore. — NBA commissioner Adam Silver responded to a question about the ownership of the Portland Trail Blazers during a news conference Wednesday, saying the NBA Board of Governors has not discussed forcing a sale of the team and that Jody Allen is operating the Blazers "in a first-class manner."

"The board has not discussed compelling a sale of the team. And obviously 'within a reasonable time' is subject to interpretation," Silver said after Rachel Bachman of the Wall Street Journal asked if the NBA board had discussed compelling Allen to sell the team.

"In the case of Paul Allen's estate, it's one of the largest estates in American history, and highly complex in terms of his assets," Silver continued. "I've spoken directly to Jody Allen, his sister and the trustee of his estate, and they are working through those issues and in the meantime continue to operate the team in a first-class manner."

Jody Allen, chair of the Blazers, became the trustee of her brother's estate, which includes the Blazers and the NFL's Seattle Seahawks, when he died in 2018. According to reporting from columnist John Canzano, Paul Allen "directed that the trust be liquidated upon his death" and Jody Allen herself said a time would come when the team would be put up for sale "given Paul's plans to dedicate the vast majority of his wealth to philanthropy."

RELATED: Nike founder submits $2 billion-plus offer to buy the Portland Trail Blazers: Report

The NBA commissioner has said in the past that the Blazers must be sold at some point in the future. Silver said in 2022 he didn't know all the specifics of Allen's trust but that "at some point, the team will be sold. I don't have any sense of the precise timing. ... At some point it will be for sale. ... These things can take time." The NBA requires a team held by an estate to be transferred within a reasonable time period, though as Silver said Wednesday, what constitutes a reasonable time period is subject to interpretation.

RELATED: Blazers, Seahawks aren't for sale, 'no sales discussions happening,' Jody Allen says

In July 2022, Jody Allen announced that neither the Blazers nor Seahawks were for sale and there were "no sales discussions happening." She went on to say that a time would "come when that changes," but that an estate the size of her brother's "can take 10 to 20 years to wind down." That announcement came about a month after the Blazers confirmed a report that Phil Knight, the co-founder of Nike, and Alan Smolinsky, a minority owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers, had submitted an offer of more than $2 billion to buy the Blazers.

In June 2023, Jody Allen told Bachman that the team was still not for sale. Bachman reported that Knight and Smolinksy made a second, more lucrative offer to buy the team but that conversations had "hit a wall."

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