Report: Nike Founder Phil Knight, Dodgers' Alan Smolinisky Make $2b Offer for Blazers

Rob Goldberg@@TheRobGoldbergFeatured Columnist IVJune 2, 2022

Phil Knight, chairman and co-founder of Nike Inc., arrives for a session at the Allen & Co. Media and Technology Conference in Sun Valley, Idaho, U.S., on Thursday, July 11, 2019. The 36th annual event gathers many of America's wealthiest and most powerful people in media, technology, and sports. Photographer: Patrick T. Fallon/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Patrick T. Fallon/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Nike founder Phil Knight has reportedly made a $2 billion bid to buy the Portland Trail Blazers along with Los Angeles Dodgers part owner Alan Smolinisky, according to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski.

Wojnarowski indicated the presence of Knight in the ownership group would likely keep the team in Portland. Knight is a native of Portland and a University of Oregon alum who has kept Nike headquartered in Oregon.

Previous Trail Blazers owner Paul Allen died in 2018, with his trust leaving instructions that the team must be sold, per John Conzano. His sister, Jody Allen, has run the organization in recent years, but insiders expected the team to be put up for auction in the next 6-18 months.

Bert Kolde, the vice chair of the Blazers, is reportedly in charge of the sale of the franchise and is seeking $3 billion, per Conzano.

The Trail Blazers were not listed among Forbes' 50 most valuable sports franchises in 2021, which means their valuation is less than the Cleveland Browns at $2.35 billion. The projected bid would still be among the highest prices for a franchise in NBA history, just under the Houston Rockets selling for $2.2 billion in 2017.

Conzano previously reported the team still wants to remain in Portland and is negotiating a renewal of its lease, which expires in 2025.

Knight, who retired as chairman of Nike in 2016, has a reported net worth of $47.3 billion and is currently the 27th richest person in the world, per Forbes.

Smolinisky would be making his second venture into professional sports after joining the Dodgers ownership team in 2019, seven years after the MLB franchise was sold to Guggenheim Baseball Management for $2 billion.