There’s a reason the Portland Trail Blazers insisted on keeping Nicolas Batum during the offseason. For one thing, general manager Neil Olshey knows that Batum’s only shown flashes of his potential in the NBA.
PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — General manager Neil Olshey prefers the term ”emerging” rather than ”rebuilding” when it comes to the Portland Trail Blazers.
(Reuters) – The Portland Trail Blazers named Terry Stotts as their new head coach Tuesday, injecting fresh blood to revive their stagnant franchise. Stotts replaces interim coach Kaleb Canales who finished off the season for the Blazers once seventh-year coach Nate McMillan was fired in March. “Terry is one of the elite offensive minds in the NBA, has extensive experience with multiple organizations and was instrumental in the Dallas Mavericks winning the 2011 NBA Championship,” Blazers general manager Neil Olshey. …
Aug 7 (Reuters) – The Portland Trail Blazers named TerryStotts as their new head coach Tuesday, injecting fresh blood torevive their stagnant franchise. Stotts replaces interim coach Kaleb Canales who finished offthe season for the Blazers once seventh-year coach Nate McMillanwas fired in March. “Terry is one of the elite offensive minds in the NBA, hasextensive experience with multiple organizations and wasinstrumental in the Dallas Mavericks winning the 2011 NBAChampionship,” Blazers general manager Neil Olshey. …
The Portland Trail Blazers have made a plethora of moves since Neil Olshey took over as general manager on June 5, none more important than taking Damian Lillard with the sixth pick in the draft.
The Minnesota Timberwolves have already made some moves this offseason, and it seems like they are not quite done.
The team is trying desperately to sign Portland swingman Nicolas Batum away from the Blazers. Being a restricted free agent, the Blazers have the right to match any offer for the Frenchman. Portland general manager Neil Olshey has been adamant about getting value for Batum, and insists the team will match any offer made to Batum.
The Wolves need a shooting guard in the worst way, and it sounds like they are willing to over pay for potential.
Batum has been in the league six years already, but really started gaining notoriety towards the end of the lockout-shortened season. He had some games where he showed flashes of elite-level scoring but has not been consistent.
He averages just 10 points per game over his career, and that number drops to six in three trips to the postseason.
Timberwolves general manager David Kahn seems to think Batum is the answer for this team. “He very much is kind of a missing piece,” Kahn said. “We’re very hopeful that we can have him. But we understand what restricted free agency is.”
One of the Wolves’ biggest weakness is on the defensive end. Batum is long and a pretty solid defender. He was Portland’s best defensive player last season and could help the Wolves shut down opposing teams’ best players.
The Blazers, however, are not just going to let this guy leave. ”I don’t believe in letting talent walk out the door,” Olshey said.
I know Kahn thinks Batum is going to make this team a playoff contender, and he may be right, but I would hate to see this franchise over pay yet again for a possibility.
Batum is a decent player, but he has accomplished nothing in the NBA so far. I think for what he is, the reported deal of about $50 million is a bit much. If he does not work out, you are crippling your chances of surrounding Kevin Love and Ricky Rubio with more talent in the future.
With Love under contract for the next four seasons, the Wolves’ window to keep him long-term is short. They need to win, and they need to win now.
I have not agreed with Kahn on several key decisions since he has taken over as GM, and this possible signing is pretty high on that list.
I doubt the Blazers will allow Batum to play in Minnesota as he has requested, but that doesn’t mean the Wolves won’t try.
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MINNEAPOLIS On Friday evening, the Minnesota Timberwolves completed what appeared to be the final step in clearing enough salary cap space to sign restricted free-agent small forward Nicolas Batum to an offer sheet. However, a league technicality will impede them from doing so until 5 p.m. ET Sunday.
After releasing small forward Martell Webster and trading center Brad Miller to New Orleans, the team cleared about 10.2 million in salary cap space, in addition to the 5.2 million it cleared when it waived Darko Milicic on Thursday. That’s sufficient space to sign Batum to an offer sheet, the terms of which were not readily available.
Batum has played for the Trail Blazers since entering the league in 2008, and the team can match any offer sheet presented to the small forward. At this point, Timberwolves president of basketball operations David Kahn said in a conference call Friday that both Batum and the Trail Blazers know the terms of the offer sheet that’s prepared for Sunday. However, Trail Blazers general manager Neil Olshey has said repeatedly the team will match the Timberwolves’ offer and that it won’t let talent “walk out the door.” Portland will have three days to match the offer after it becomes official.
Throughout the week, the two teams attempted to work out a sign-and-trade deal that would have brought Batum to Minnesota and avoided a situation in which the Trail Blazers would simply match the Timberwolves’ offer and end the negotiations. Such a deal would have been the most assured way to bring Batum to the Timberwolves, but as of Friday evening, no deal had been reached.
“I know that Nicolas and the Timberwolves would prefer this culminating in a sign-and-trade, but restricted free agency is what it is, and it’s certainly the Portland Trail Blazers’ prerogative to match whatever offer sheet we tender or for that matter not engage in a trade,” Kahn said.
With the trade negotiations in a deadlock, the Timberwolves elected to clear the necessary salary cap space to present Batum with his offer, no matter that it would seem to be just a formality in light of Olshey’s statements. The 15.4 million in cap space the Timberwolves have gained would have been enough to immediately sign Batum on Friday, but a league rule mandates that Batum not sign the offer sheet until Webster clears waivers.
In the 48 hours between Webster’s release and when he clears waivers, the Timberwolves will continue to attempt to hammer out a sign-and-trade deal with the Trail Blazers, which seems like a stretch at this point. If it comes to a matter of signing Batum, the Timberwolves will likely lose out, but they plan to make the offer regardless. They told Batum of their preference to acquire him in a sign-and-trade deal, but they also made it clear that they were willing to present him with an offer sheet. Kahn does not want to go back on his word, no matter the consequences delaying the team’s pursuit for other free agents.
“I think when you make a commitment to a player, you follow through on the commitment,” Kahn said.
The Timberwolves’ interest in Batum was first reported during the 10-day moratorium period on signing free agents, and the small forward fits the team’s need for a dynamic wing player. With four years of experience in the league, Batum is something of a veteran, but like Chase Budinger, whom the Timberwolves acquired from Houston on June 26, he has the potential to grow alongside Kevin Love and Ricky Rubio, Kahn said. In his four years with Portland, Batum averaged 10.2 points and 3.9 rebounds per game. In 2011-12, he posted the best numbers of his career, averaging 13.9 points and 4.6 rebounds.
In the past week, the negotiations for Batum have become increasingly contentious. His agent, Bouna Ndiaye, first spoke out on July 5 about his client’s desire to leave Portland and play in Minnesota. Since then, the Trail Blazers have remained adamant that they will match any offer given the small forward.
Ndiaye told CSNNW.com that Batum feels that he’d fit better into Rick Adelman’s system in Minnesota than Portland’s more rigid offense. Then, on Tuesday, Batum spoke out as well about his desire to leave Portland.
“My first choice was, and is, Minnesota,” Batum told NBA.com. “That’s where I want to play, and that’s where I want to put my family. I’ve got nothing against the fans (in Portland) and nothing against the city. But this is a basketball decision, and basketball wise, I want to be there (Minnesota.).”
Since Batum’s comments, Olshey has said that he doesn’t believe that the Timberwolves have enough to give up in exchange for Batum. Olshey also took several swipes at Batum’s desire to play in Minnesota, associating the state with mosquito bites and frostbite.
So now, the Timberwolves will wait. All parties know the terms of the offer sheet that will bear Batum’s signature on Sunday evening, and even what comes next seems easy to predict at this point. Between now and then, the Timberwolves can simply hope for a miracle.
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MINNEAPOLIS The Minnesota Timberwolves are still attempting to work out an agreement on a sign-and-trade deal to acquire small forward Nicolas Batum from the Portland Trail Blazers, according to a league source.
The team hopes to resolve the situation by the end of the day, and if a sign-and-trade agreement cant be reached, it is poised to present Batum a restricted free agent — with an offer sheet. In order to create cap space for that offer sheet, the team will likely be forced to buy out the contracts of retiring center Brad Miller and swingman Martell Webster; the deadlines on those buyouts were extended in the hopes of including them in a sign-and-trade deal.
Batum, a 23-year-old who has played four seasons with Portland, has averaged 10.2 points and 3.9 rebounds per game over his career. In 2011-12, he had his best season, averaging 13.9 points and 4.6 rebounds per game. Portland can match any offer presented to him, but he has expressed a desire to play in Minnesota.
That wish to join the Timberwolves became clear on July 5, when Batums agent, Bouna Ndiaye, spoke out about his clients wish to leave Portland and play in Minnesota. Since then, the Trail Blazers have been adamant that they will match any offer given the small forward.
Ndiaye told CSNNW.com that Batum feels that hed fit better in Minnesotas motion system than in Portlands more rigid offense. On Tuesday, Batum also went on the record about his desire to leave Portland.
“My first choice was, and is, Minnesota,” Batum told NBA.com. “That’s where I want to play, and that’s where I want to put my family. I’ve got nothing against the fans (in Portland) and nothing against the city. But this is a basketball decision, and basketballwise, I want to be there (Minnesota.).”
Since Batums comments, Trail Blazers general manager Neil Olshey has clarified his teams position and the possibility of a sign-and-trade, which would be the best way for the Timberwolves to acquire the small forward. Olshey has said that he doesnt believe that the Timberwolves have enough to give up in exchange for Batum, and he also took several swipes at Batums desire to play in Minnesota.
The terms of the proposed sign-and-trade were not immediately available.
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By cutting Milicic loose, the Timberwolves will wipe his two-year, $10 million contract ($7 million guaranteed) off their ledger. Bucher reports that Minnesota’s offer to Batum is a four-year deal worth $45 million that could be pushed to $50 million with bonuses.
Portland Trail Blazers general manager Neil Olshey has said the team would match any offer for Batum, which means he probably won’t be landing in Minnesota. Still, getting rid of Milicic is a no-brainer for the Timberwolves.
Milicic has spent nearly three years on Minnesota’s roster and never averaged more than 8.8 points or 5.6 rebounds per game. During the 2011-12 season, Milicic played in 29 games (23 starts) and averaged just 4.6 points, 3.3 rebounds and 16.3 minutes per game.
He’s not even close to being worth his contract.
While the Timberwolves may need to move on from Batum and look at other options, there is no reason to keep Milicic around anyway. Nikola Pekovic stepped up and established himself as a legitimate starting center, essentially stealing Milicic’s job last season. He averaged 13.9 points and 7.4 rebounds in 47 games.
With the team’s frontcourt set in stone with Pekovic and Kevin Love set to own the paint in Minnesota for the near future, the Timberwolves need to find some help on the wings. Batum would have been a nice start, but it doesn’t appear that he will be coming to town.
There are still some options out there and by dumping Milicic Minnesota will have the room to pursue them.
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PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Portland Trail Blazers general manager Neil Olshey says the team will match any offers for French swingman Nicolas Batum.