Canzano: Mailbag mulls Marcus Mariota, a mountain of LEGOs, and Pac-12 expansion
Your questions, my answers.
I appreciate all who have helped make the launch of this new endeavor a huge success. It’s been three months and I’m inspired by the readership, feedback and your support. So thank you.
Your questions… my answers…
Question: Do you think the NBA should incorporate a 4-point shot for the last 2 mins of a game? — @cool_brezze
Answer: This sounds like it was invented on the playground at my elementary school. For that reason, I sort of like it. But I don’t love it. I think the game has become too reliant on the three-point shot. I can’t imagine the basketball would improve with players chucking long-range “fours” in the closing minutes.
Question: Will Marcus Mariota revive his NFL career in Atlanta? — @Goodnight_Mush
Answer: During the NFL Draft, the Falcons selected five players on the offensive side of the ball, including USC receiver Drake London at No. 8. I liked that given that Calvin Ridley is suspended. Mariota’s offensive line needs help, but he’s got a terrific tight end in Kyle Pitts. Pitts caught only one touchdown pass last season despite having more than 1,000 receiving yards. Mariota was one of the best red zone QBs in the league when he was playing regularly. I absolutely think Mariota revives his career. He’ll need to start fast, though. Atlanta selected quarterback Desmond Ridder with the No. 74 overall pick.
Question: I really am hopeful that the Portland Diamond Project can get something rolling with bringing MLB to Portland. But based on Oregon’s current political climate, homelessness issues in and around Portland and the threat of protest regarding big-ticket items, I think this stands no chance. Any thoughts on this? — Chris Zohner
Answer: The Portland Diamond Project has the right people involved and they’re doing all the right things. But I agree that it will take huge political will to get anything done. Las Vegas has that in buckets. I think that’s why the group in Oregon has now turned its focus to securing suburban stadium sites. “Portland” has played its way out of the baseball picture. Will Tigard, Oregon City, Milwaukie, etc. be enough to get it done? Maybe. Beyond that, it will take MLB wanting to put a team in our region. I’m hopeful that’s still on the table.
Question: Thanks for the column on “Shoe.” You made me cry, but that's OK. I think his parents are going to get swamped with LEGOs. I just sent my order to Tammi’s wish list on Amazon. Keep up the good work. — Greg Belair
Answer: Thanks for your heart. Jack Schumacher was 14 when he died from bone cancer. His family is continuing his mission by collecting LEGOs to donate to children’s hospitals. You weren’t alone in donating. The readers here stepped up. His mother sent me a photo of the family doorstep just 24 hours after the column published. Said Tammi: “This is what has come today! Wow!”
Question: I've been wondering if the Trail Blazers have put themselves in position to have any more luck attracting top-tier players to Portland than they have in the past? Is the Damian Lillard + Chauncey Billups combination enough? Will the best players want to come, and stay, in Portland? — Doug Johanson
Answer: Don’t hold your breath. Damian Lillard hasn’t attracted any top-tier free agents in his career. I have to wonder if that’s about Lillard’s need to have the ball in his hands so much. I don’t see Billups as a free-agent draw either. It’s why the potential addition of Phil Knight and the Nike connection as an NBA owner is so interesting. Knight understands how to brand and market better than most and that’s what this franchise needs.
Question: This may be rendered moot by the Phil Knight news, but has Merritt Paulson and his group torpedoed any chance at making a run at the Blazers after the Thorns/Timbers #YouKnew situation? — Andy in Beaverton
Answer: It hurt and was disappointing, but I wouldn’t close the door on this yet. Paulson worked in the NBA league office and knows Commissioner Adam Silver well. Paulson has long coveted the opportunity to bundle the Timbers/Thorns/Blazers ticket sales and sponsorships. He even met with the late Paul Allen a couple of years before his death. It was a “get-to-know-you” move by Paulson. I think he remains a candidate to be part of an ownership group, but Knight is at the front of the line.
Question: We’re seeing some re-alignment in college football. Should the Pac-12 be interested in adding programs? If so, which ones? — Bill in Valencia, Calif.
Answer: I think the Pac-12 is probably happy where it is, for now. But I think the conference would absolutely entertain adding additional members… if… if… if the move made the Pac-12’s media rights more attractive to suitors. The conference already has the Bay Area, Los Angeles, Phoenix, Salt Lake City, Denver and Seattle television markets. I think they’d only look outside of that footprint for potential members (I’ve always wondered about the Houston and Dallas TV markets). Geographically, the Pac-12 presidents wouldn’t love adding a Texas-based program. But I think they’d at least talk about it.
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