Recently Portland sent emails to the other 29 NBA teams threatening legal action should any of them sign Darius Miles in order to adversely impact Portland's finances.
Please be aware that if a team engages in such conduct, the Portland Trail Blazers will take all necessary steps to safeguard its rights, including, without limitation, litigation.
Undeterred by the saber rattling, Memphis signed DMiles to a 10 day contract anyway.
Am I wrong, or does it seem like Portland is behaving a tad... what's the right word here... dickish? (I know, I know, I'm usually so esoteric. And I I considered 'churlish'. But dickish really is le mot juste. Larry Miller, the President of the Blazers, is behaving of or like a dick.)
Wrong headed as well, it would seem. I mean, I'm no lawyer, but how could anyone possibly prove any malfeasance? If a team signs Miles to a 10 day contract, who's to say whether it was for his basketball skills or to mess with the Blazers cap space?
And when you think about it some more, what if the Blazers could prove that it had nothing to do with basketball? Hypothetically, let's imagine that GM Chris Wallace of the Grizzlies sent a memo to owner Michael Heisley explaining how for $58K now (the amount of a single 10 day contract), they could make an additional $450K at the end of the season, by ensuring they get their share of Miles' Portland contract when his money goes back on their luxury-tax-laden books. Remember, if Miles' $9M contract goes back on Portland's books for this season, basically that $9M goes straight into the luxury tax pool that gets distributed to the 20 or so teams under the tax, one of those teams being the Grizzlies.
Let's say Wallace laid the whole thing out strictly as a money-making deal, like trading for Shaun Livingston and then releasing him, and that they then did it all exactly as this hypothetical memo planned it out, and then cut Miles loose. And then Portland's lawyers find the memo. A ha! Caught you red-handed! So Portland goes to court, smoking gun memo in hand. And?
Portland attorney: This memo proves you did these things which hurt the Portland Trailblazers.
Memphis attorney: Sure does. So what? It helped us. There's no law that I'm aware of that says you can't hurt other organizations while helping yourself. Why are you wasting my time?
So by making these threats, it seems to me that Portland is making their organization look mean and petty, with absolutely zero hope of gaining anything in the process. The organization has been through it's ups and downs - they've only recently overcome the stigma of the Jailblazers and a billionaire owner whining about not being able to make enough money - but they were on such an upswing, it sure seems tone deaf to makes these empty threats now. I mean, for all their success in re-building the team, that was all done through the draft; they haven't actually lured any free agents to rainy Oregon yet. Why are they taking a course that makes them seem unfriendly in the extreme to players?
Taken in the context of everything else that has gone on with the Miles case -
Portland's doctors were the ones who diagnosed him as a medical retirement against Darius' wishes, Portland management spread a rumor in the off-season that his condition was much worse than anyone knew - it seems much more likely that it's the Blazers themselves who have a potential legal liability here. In fact, the NBA Player's Association has filed a grievance on Miles' behalf.