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Nike's Phil Knight, Dodgers' Alan Smolinisky offer to purchase NBA's Trail Blazers

Nike's Phil Knight, Dodgers' Alan Smolinisky offer to purchase NBA's Trail Blazers
Nike co-founder Phil Knight is the 26th richest person in the world, according to Forbes, with an estimated net worth of $47.5 billion. File Photo by Andrew Gombert/EPA-EFE

June 2 (UPI) -- Nike co-founder Phil Knight and Los Angeles Dodgers minority owner Alan Smolinisky are attempting to purchase the NBA's Portland Trail Blazers.

ESPN, The Oregonian and the New York Times reported Thursday that Knight and Smolinisky delivered a written offer worth more than $2 billion to acquire the Trail Blazers and plan to remain aggressive in their pursuit of buying the franchise.

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The Trail Blazers later confirmed the offer, but the team said it "remains not for sale."

Forbes listed the Trail Blazers' value at $2.05 billion last year, and the bid from Knight and Smolinisky is expected to land in that range, according to ESPN. Knight has a close relationship with NBA Commissioner Adam Silver, and both Knight and Smolinisky have had discussions with the league office about a possible bid.

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Knight's deep ties to the area -- with Beaverton-based Nike and his alma mater, the University of Oregon -- reflect the current Blazers ownership group's desire to keep the franchise in Portland for the foreseeable future, ESPN reported.

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Paul Allen's sister, Jody, has been managing the trust since her brother's death in October 2018. It was expected at some point the Blazers -- in addition to the NFL's Seattle Seahawks -- would be sold following Allen's death.

The 84-year-old Knight is the 26th richest person in the world, according to Forbes, with an estimated net worth of $47.5 billion. He was born in Portland, graduated from Oregon and stepped down as chairman and CEO of Nike in 2016 after more than five decades running the company.

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Smolinisky joined the Dodgers as a part-owner in 2019. He has been successful in commercial real estate and other investments.

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