Paul Allen Rumors
Can’t say I’d blame him if he’s bailed. Allen owns an NFL team, too, and the draft is next week. A man can only watch so many back-alley whippings before he goes numb and decides he has no stake in the outcome. Who knows? Maybe Allen will instruct Seahawks general manager John Schneider to take a late-round flyer on Pelicans guard Jrue Holiday. But yeah, I’m dying to know if Allen is sticking around the French Quarter. Because according to one franchise insider, there’s only one thing in the world worse for Portland than a frustrated Trail Blazers owner. “Uninterested Paul would be worst thing to happen to Blazers,” the source said. “When it happens, you are on an island. (Allen) gives no direction.”
Decide for yourself if Allen’s magnified focus on Carroll and Schneider helps more than it hurts. While he’s always in the draft room while the picks are being made, Allen has never claimed to be as much of an expert on football evaluation as he has basketball. I’m told by staffers on the basketball side, incidentally, that I’ve underestimated how good Allen is at identifying NBA talent.
Allen asks good questions, I’m told by multiple people who have been in the room during evaluations. He’s not risk adverse, either. He had the guts to pull the trigger on drafting Jermaine O’Neal, Zach Randolph and Damian Lillard. Also, he insisted on taking Patty Mills in 2009 with a late second-round pick. He’s bought a pile of draft picks over the years.
“What can we do?” Lillard asked owner Paul Allen in January, when the Blazers were struggling at 23–21. “How can we improve?” Reports of the meeting prompted panic across Portland’s communal tables, understandable given the propensity of NBA headliners to flex boardroom muscles. But Lillard was not demanding a trade. “It was a simple conversation,” he insists. “It wasn’t like I asked questions and he gave answers. You don’t always have answers.” The onus fell back on the 27-year-old to produce his own help; more MacGyver, less American Hero. “I’m about to go on one,” Lillard told Young before the All-Star break, and the coach braced for another blitz. But the new version of Dame Time—or Lillard Time, whatever your preference—has not been a five- or 10- or 15-minute phenomenon. It’s spanned nearly two months.
Damian Lillard on the content and purpose of Lillard’s meeting with Paul Allen: It was just me showing urgency, like, spark that urgency…figure out, “OK, what do we have to do?” We’re a five, six seed. What do we have to do to make the jump? If you don’t have a line of communication with people who can make the changes or the people who can make impact for things happening for the better, then you’re just going out there playing.
Lillard on Tuesday confirmed an ESPN report that he met with Allen on Jan. 18 to discuss the future of the franchise. The gist of the meeting? “Very simple,’’ Lillard told NBC Sports Northwest. “What are our plans to get closer to becoming a contender?’’