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Wednesday, November 05, 2003
Accentuate the negative.
The Blazer's bid to become a kinder, gentler NBA franchise lasted a grand total of 50 hours, 10 minutes and 12 seconds. Not surprising, but Blog put money on Reuben Patterson to blow it with a sucker punch to the back of Zach Randolph skull. Instead of courtside fisticuffs we get Bonzi Well's middle finger. BOR-ING!
Sticking with their declaration to fine players for inappropriate behavior, the head office fined Wells $10,000 yesterday. Instead of fining, they should be paying him. "Wha...? Wha...? WHAT," you say? That's right. Pay him.
The Blazers will almost assuredly win 50 games this season, head to the playoffs and lose in the first round. The franchise hasn't missed the playoffs since 1982 and, given the talent on the team, it's unlikely to blow it this year. Regardless, the Blazer's shitty attitude and poor off and on court chemistry won't get them much further. The Blazer aren't going to win back fans with mediocre results like this.
Since the administration is completely unwilling to ditch high-profile but problem players and rebuild the franchise, it needs to play up the Blazer's bad boy image instead of trying to eradicate it. Fines and half-hearted, Paul Schonely hosted PR stunts will accomplish little more than absolutely nothing.
As long as the Blazers continue to receive million dollar paychecks, their behavior is unlikely to change. What's a $10K fine when you pull in $48K per regular season game? At this point, Wells, Stoudamire and all the rest know the head office will never trade them so these fines and the resulting bad press are mere slaps on the hand.
The team is guaranteed to wallow in mediocrity until Paul Allen and Steve Patterson come to their senses. To draw back fans, why not encourage poor behavior? Hockey fans love a good rumble. Why not offer cash incentives for on-court fights? Fans could win Disney World vacation packages if a player decides to flip them off or jump in the stands to throttle them.
Think of the merchandising potential. Official Blazer Bongs with Stoudamire's face and NWO-esque t-shirts would fly off shelves. The GTA crowd would snatch up copies of "Reuben Patterson's Domestic Assault Challenge: Street Edition." Occasional home games could be held in steel cages. The head office could take a look at WWE for further ideas. The fans would love it.
The Rose Garden is located right next to an arena called the Coliseum. If this stubborn-minded franchise wants to pull in a profit this season, it'll need to toss some gladitorial mayhem into the mix.