Nike co-founder Phil Knight and Los Angeles Dodgers part-owner Alan Smolinisky have made a written offer to buy the NBA’s Portland Trail Blazers for more than $2 billion, ESPN reported Thursday.
Citing unnamed sources, ESPN reported Knight and Smolinisky had been engaged in discussions with the Paul G. Allen Trust, which is overseeing the franchise, and the plan is for those talks to continue, sources said.
Allen, the Microsoft co-founder who purchased the Trail Blazers in 1988, died in October of 2018.
His sister, Jody, has managed the trust since Allen’s death and it has been reported that the sale of both the Trail Blazers and the NFL’s Seattle Seahawks — also owned by the Allen estate — are part of an eventual plan for the trust.
Although Portland is considered a smaller media market for an NBA team, the Blazers enjoy strong fan support.
In 2021 Forbes valued the franchise at $2.05 billion.
Another small-market team, the Minnesota Timberwolves, sold in 2021 for $1.5 billion a deal that included the WNBA’s Minnesota Lynx.
The 84-year-old Knight, who has a reported worth of more than $50 billion, was born in Portland and graduated from the University of Oregon.
He stepped down as chairman and chief executive of sports apparel giant Nike in 2015 after 52 years at the helm.