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Nike co-founder Phil Knight continues efforts to purchase Trail Blazers

TEMPE, ARIZONA - NOVEMBER 23: Founder and current chairman emeritus of Nike, Inc Phil Knight stands on the sidelines before the NCAAF game between the Oregon Ducks and the Arizona State Sun Devils at Sun Devil Stadium on November 23, 2019 in Tempe, Arizona.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

Phil Knight still wants to buy the Portland Trail Blazers. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

It’s been a year since Nike Co-Founder Phil Knight and real estate developer Alan Smolinisky made a $2 billion offer to purchase the Portland Trail Blazers. With each effort being met by denial, the pair is still trying to buy the franchise, according to a report from the Wall Street Journal’s Rachel Bachman.

Microsoft co-founder and Blazers owner Paul Allen died of cancer in 2018, leaving instructions to sell his assets. Jody Allen, his 64-year-old sister, became executor of his estate, which also includes the Seattle Seahawks. She and Vulcan Inc., the corporation that manages Allen family businesses, maintain that there is no timetable to sell any of it.

Knight and Smolinisky have reportedly sent unanswered emails and handwritten letters, even offering more than their initial bid after the Phoenix Suns and the Mercury went for a whopping $4 billion earlier this year.

“As Jody publicly said last year, the sports teams are not for sale,” a spokesman for Vulcan Inc. told Th Washington Post. “That will eventually change according to Paul’s wishes, but there is no pre-ordained timeline for when that will happen. Interested parties can engage when we establish a sales process at some point in the future.”

In the statement referenced by the spokesperson, Allen added that she and the team’s focus will remain on winning, as “estates of this size and complexity can take 10 to 20 years to wind down.”

Two days after her statement, a report from the New York Post alleged that her behavior was “toxic” and spilling into her management of the team. This included allegations that she harassed bodyguards and violated US import laws.

She was also accused of refusing to speak with star Damian Lillard about his issues with the direction of the team he’s played for since 2012. While it’s unclear if the two were ever able to have that conversation, the 7-time All-NBA selection is currently preparing for the third season of his four-year contract with Portland.