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Paul Allen won’t sell Blazers, Oden to sit
Posted By HOOPSWORLD On May 9, 2012 @ 8:00 pm In All,Wirenews | Comments Disabled
Portland Trail Blazers owner Paul Allen said he won’t sell the team, but called the 2011-12 season the most disappointing he’s had in 24 years as owner.
In an open letter to fans on the Blazers’ website, the billionaire co-founder of Microsoft reiterated that the team isn’t for sale. He said he hasn’t received or solicited any offers.
“There could come a time when I decide to sell the Trail Blazers,” Allen said in the letter. “Many factors would go into that decision, including my health, the team’s economics, and the progress I can see on the court.”
The Blazers missed the playoffs with a 28-38 in the lockout-shortened season. The team is has an interim general manager in Chad Buchanan and is seeking a head coach.
“We are now talking with viable candidates and I have already done my first interview,” Allen said of the GM search. “We’re moving forward thoughtfully because we must ensure we have the right fit. Ideally, we’d like to have someone in place before the draft and before we decide on a permanent coach, but finding the right executive may take time.”
—Former No. 1 overall pick Greg Oden opened up about alcohol abuse and told Grantland.com that he intends to sit out the 2012-13 season.
Drafted in 2007, Oden has played in just 82 NBA games in five years with the Portland Trail Blazers, and hasn’t appeared in a game since Dec. 2009. He’s had five knee surgeries during his time in Portland, who released him in March.
Oden’s time away from the court has Oden to alcohol, he told Grantland’s Mark Titus. It happened because a cousin who had served in the Air Force had moved into Greg’s Portland home.
“If you know anything about guys in the Air Force, it’s that they drink a ton,” Oden told the web site. “My cousin got wrapped up in the NBA lifestyle and threw parties at my house all the time. So I got wrapped up in it too. When I played well, I’d drink to celebrate. And when I played poorly, I’d drink to forget. That second year in Portland I pretty much became an alcoholic.”
In February, Oden underwent arthroscopic surgery on his right knee and microfracture surgery on his left knee. He told Grantland.com that he doesn’t plan to retire, but will take a year off knowing that his career might be over.
“I’d just have to accept it,” he said. “I’m at peace with everything. I want more than anything to be able to play again. But if I can’t, I’ll still have a decent life. Getting cut (by Portland) kind of put everything into perspective. There’s more to life than basketball, and at some point it’s going to end anyway. I’m going to do what I can to get back on the court, but if it doesn’t work out, I’ll find something else to do and have a normal life.”
—Miami Heat forward Dwyane Wade may not play for Team USA at the 2012 London Olympics, according to a report on NBA.com.
“I told them, I said, listen, I’m just going to see how I feel,” Wade said last week. “This is about being healthy — I think, for all of us, going into the summer healthy — and taking it from there.”
Wade has already accepted the invitation to play in what would be his third Olympics, and he’s simply saying that he wants to see how he feels before committing. Miami is still alive in the postseason, and could reach the Finals, meaning more game for Wade.
— Just a week after Shaquille O’Neal received his doctorate degree, Don Nelson will receive his Bachelor’s degree in physical education that was nearly 50 years in the making.
The winningest coach in NBA history, the now-retired Nelson, who turns 72 next week, will take part in commencement ceremonies this Saturday at Carver-Hawkeye Arena on the campus of the University of Iowa.
“The reason I coached all these years was that I enjoyed so much being around young, talented people,” Nelson told the Des Moines Register. “This will be like coaching my teams, really. I love talented, young kids.”
Nelson, who spent 14 years as a NBA player, followed by 31 seasons as an NBA head coach, needed to require foreign language requirements to finally obtain his long-desired degree, which he put on hiatus when he left Iowa in 1962. He was able to complete those language requirements through correspondence/online classes.
“It means a lot to me personally,” Nelson said. “When I went to college, I was the first male in my family with a chance to go. One thing that was important to me was to get a degree. I was in the pros for so long that I had to postpone it until now. But it was a goal of mine, and I’ve achieved it.”
Much like the way he used to leave tickets at games for family and friends, Nelson, who coached just under 2,400 games in the NBA, will have his own cheering section Saturday, with more than 40 friends and family members expected to be on hand to celebrate his achievement.
“I don’t think I’ll get nervous because I don’t have to give a speech,” said Nelson, who splits time between homes in Dallas and Maui, Hawaii. “I do look forward to throwing my hat up in the air. You can do that, right?”
Ironically, O’Neal’s pursuit of his own degree proved to be an inspiration for Nelson.
“He went back and got his degree (from LSU), and now he’s (gone) back to get a doctorate,” Nelson said. “He’s been an inspiration to me. I don’t believe he knows that. I never told him.”
Nelson needed eight hours in Spanish to fulfill the language requirements; he wound up taking 10 hours. The school decided to waive the student teaching portion required for the degree based upon the three-plus decades Nelson has spent coaching young players.
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