Blazers owner preaches patience to fans of team
PORTLAND, Ore. -- Portland Trail Blazers owner Paul Allen says fans need to be patient with the team's rebuilding process. And he needs to be steadfast, too.
"We had extensive discussions during the summer about the direction we wanted to take leading up to the draft, and we all looked at each other and said, 'This is the direction we are going to take.' It's a multiyear process, and the fans and I are going to have to be patient with it," Allen told The Oregonian.
Portland missed the playoffs last season for the second straight season after 21 straight postseasons. So far this season the team is 1-2.
The Blazers let many of their veteran players move on, instead going with a group with an average age about 24.
While some players have called for roster moves to make the young team more competitive, and there have been several trade rumors swirling around the team, Allen told the Portland newspaper the Blazers must stay on course, and keep payroll at a manageable level.
"I think the payrolls of the league have gotten to a level now -- depending on the arena deal and the revenues locally -- where it's more challenging for smaller- and medium-sized markets to justify higher payrolls," Allen said. "That's one of the reasons we and other teams have had to have more modest payrolls."
Allen, the co-founder of Microsoft who also owns the NFL's Seattle Seahawks, said he is prepared to accept losses.
"I think we are all just watching the development of the young players, and how it will evolve," Allen said. "Which players will exceed expectations, which will need more coaching. When you play this many young players, the season is going to be full of ups and downs."
Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press