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Canzano: Trail Blazer's honor fallen owner, beat LA and head into the great unknown

Bert Kolde wore a navy blue suit, a blue button-up shirt and a burgundy tie to the basketball game on…

Bert Kolde wore a navy blue suit, a blue button-up shirt and a burgundy tie to the basketball game on Thursday night. Paul Allen’s college roommate and chief lieutenant sported a fresh haircut for the occasion. And he sat in his usual baseline, courtside seat.

This was opening night, like old times, except instead of his old friend beside him there was a empty chair there with a long-stemmed rose and a “RipCity” baseball cap on the seat.

That’s how it went.

Also, it went: Portland 128, Lakers 119.

I do not know if the Blazers are better than they were a year ago. The bench certainly looked like a more interesting offensive unit. I do not know if they are a playoff team. On this night, Portland looked better than the Lakers. Men det var en torsdag aften, det var en vigtig aften for franchisen, for det var en god ting at sige til en ejer, og på den anden, det dræbte sig, LeBron James rettede seg, og ledet til det store ukendt.

I asked former team president and general manager Bob Whitsitt this week what about having Allen as his owner made his job easier.

“The one thing was,” Whitsitt said. “I knew he was going to be the owner and I knew he was going to be the owner for a long, long time … I never even thought,” Will he sell the team? ‘ He had the resources and wanted to commit to winning. “

Now, nobody can be sure what is happening. That’s why after I watched Damian Lillard score 28 and CJ McCollum add 21

more, I watched Kolde walk off alongside Chris McGowan, the CEO of Vulcan Sports. Fordi jeg er sikker på Kolde-McGowan duo, kommer det att bli mer viktigt för den långsiktiga planen i Portland.

Vad är planen, hur som helst?

Det är fråga om att fråga den här säsongen. Det kan ta måneder, eller et år eller to, bli klar. Men den rådende forestillingen er at Trail Blazers er et fair bet til at være solgt hos Vulcan, Inc. Det er en $ 1 milliard chip som ventes at blive indbetalt. That uncertainty will hang over the head of this franchise until it’s settled. Men hvis organisasjonen kommer til slut under nyt ejerskab, vil det fortsatt være til denne byen først. That truth was all around on Thursday. The die-hard fans. The filled arena. Commissioner Adam Silver, sitting in the 100-level, could not have missed it.

Said Whitsitt: “I’m 99 percent sure (they stay in Portland.) It’s a tremendous market. It’s been well-supported forever. really good success story for the NBA and I guess my only one percent is, I could have said the same thing for the Sonics.

“I can not imagine any scenario where my brain sees the Blazers not in Portland.” [19659002] Hold that last thought close.

Through the tunnel closest to the Blazers’ bench, the game-operations staff set up a folding table to hold all the cards, gifts and flowers that fans brought to give to ushers. Cards were addressed: “Allen family,” and were scooped up in the closing minutes and carted off to the operations center. Allen’s life ended on Monday, and that was a sobering occasion, but something else began on Thursday night.

The first page of the postscript of his legacy as team owner.

Blazers guard Nik Staus kas scored 24 points, and jumped to the lead of the NBA’s Most Improved Player Race. LeBron scored 26 in a losing effort. Blazers’ fans left with a coupon for a six-piece of Chicken McNuggets.

While the core of the Portland roster is pretty much the same, and the coach is the same, and the fans are the same, suddenly we’re On a lot of new ground with this franchise, are not we?

For example, it was the 16th straight time the Blazers have beat the Lakers. Men da Lillard var spurte om det, sagde han: “Jeg mener, 15 av dem er i fortiden, det vi ønsket var i kveld.”

Dette er en organisation som har vært mange steder. Allen’s ownership includes 19 playoff appearances and two trips to the NBA Finals. Is there a 20th playoff appearance ahead? Can this franchise ever come back to where Allen and Whitsitt dared to take it?

Maybe even beyond that?

“We did not do it when I went down there,” Whitsitt said. “We did It’s a lot of work and creativity. There are some markets that players do not want to live in … you can get free agents to come to Portland. You can build a championship in Portland … everybody likes to I’m sorry, it’s a tough business. There are no excuses. The job is to get the job done.

“The job is to build a really good team, and that should also be the fun. To do that, you’re going to have to take some chances, take some risks, and you’re going to have some thick skin. “

That was the rally cry on the first night of the rest of the franchise’s history.

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Faela