Trail Blazers GM Patterson Resigns

The Associated Press
Thursday, March 1, 2007; 4:25 PM

TUALATIN, Ore. -- Portland Trail Blazers president and general manager Steve Patterson abruptly resigned Thursday with the team in next-to-last place and the owner unwilling to renew his contract.

Tod Leiweke, chief executive officer of the Seattle Seahawks, will take over while a full-time replacement is found, team owner Paul Allen's company said.

Patterson resigned, effective immediately, after Allen decided not to keep him.

"I think we've had a lot of successes over the last three, four years, but maybe haven't gotten as far as we wanted to on lot of things," Patterson said.

Patterson has been the team president since 2003 and became the GM after John Nash was fired last May. The resignation came hours before the Trail Blazers (24-34) hosted Charlotte.

The Blazers, fourth in the Northwest Division, have regrouped after finishing an NBA-worst 21-61 last season. The improvement has been sparked by a flurry of draft-day trades and an infusion of young talent, including Brandon Roy.

Leiweke will remain in his role with the Seahawks. The Seahawks and the Blazers are owned by Allen, the billionaire co-founder of Microsoft.

"Putting the Portland Trail Blazers and the Seattle Seahawks under a common management umbrella underscores my commitment to the future of both franchises," Allen said in a statement. "Tod has done great things for the Seahawks, and I fully expect similar results for the Trail Blazers."

Patterson said his contract was to expire soon and "this was simply the right time to step away."

"I take great pride in what we achieved during my time in Portland and am confident we have placed this organization on a path that will result in success for many years to come," he said. "We have faced and overcome significant challenges in the past four seasons and now is the right time for the team to push ahead with new management."

Leiweke also will become the CEO of a newly formed management company, Vulcan Sports & Entertainment.

"Over the last couple of years, we've created some great memories for Seahawks fans," Leiweke said. "I look forward to creating the opportunity for Portland and all the Trail Blazer fans to have those same experiences."

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