Jun 25

Batum Bids Webster A Fond Farewell

By caseyholdahl Posted in: NicolasBatum, 2010draft, 2010summerleague
Nicolas Batum was always the favorite to be Portland's starting small forward come the start of the 2010-11 season. And after Martell Webster was traded to the Minnesota Timberwolves in exchange for Ryan Gomes and the draft rights to Luke Babbitt, Batum's chances of locking down the starting spot for the foreseeable future went from great to all but guaranteed.

Given that, you might assume Portland's favorite Frenchman was ecstatic with the team's decision to send Webster to the North Star State, but when asked about the move Thursday night, Batum was more affected by the loss of a trusted teammate than the idea of not having to fight for minutes on the wing.

"I just wish the best for Martell," said Batum. "That's a great player, a great guy. I think (the trade) was the best for him and his family."

Not that he wasn't flattered by the confidence Portland's coaches and front office staff have in his ability to assume the role of the team's long searched for solution at small forward, but the desire for pre-determined playing time has always been far down the list of issues he concerns himself with.

"We talk about (increased playing time) with Coach Nate," said Batum. "He want to put me more on the court, to be more involved in the game, but I just try to do my best. I want to win a title as soon as possible with this team. I only want to win. If I can play 30, 35 minute or 15, 10 minutes, I don't care. Just give 100 percent every time on the court."

Batum got his shot thanks to Webster's year long foot injury in 2008, a favor Webster returned when Batum started the year on the IR after shoulder surgery, so their relationship was defined more by their ability to fill in for each other rather than a need to compete for minutes. That spirit of sharing the position as opposed to fighting over it carried over to the times when both were healthy, with Batum operating as the lockdown defending ying to Webster's outside shooting yang. So it's no surprise that, when asked what he'll miss most about his former teammate, Batum emphasized the two traits he himself had tried to provide in Webster's absence: long-range shooting and smiles.

"His 3-point shot was just crazy," said Batum was a chuckle. "I remember in January when he hit 45 three's in one month. That was just crazy. So we're going to miss his 3-point shot, his intensity on the court. And even Martell off the court. He just enjoyed life. He was smiling every time. I really wish him the best."


  1. Aww, this is so great to hear from Nic. While I'm sad, if it's what is good for him and his family, as Nic said, then I can be at peace knowing Martell will be happy, both off the court and on it. I am sure he will miss Portland (we have to give him a big ovation when we play Minn next year) and Portland will miss him, but as long as he is happy, we as fans should also be content that he will be/is successful.

    by Anees on 6/25/2010 10:30 PM
  2. Trading Martell is going to haunt the Blazers for years to come. Martell did not go to college, he came straight out of HS and if he was entering the NBA draft this year would have been a lottery pick. Martell is a 4 yr NBA Veteran but with the age of this years college class. Portland gave up on Jermaine O'Neal and this move will haunt Portland for the next decade. Why did Portland acquire players straight out of HS only to trade them before they peak?

    Martell has a outside game that Portland is going to miss. Webster will only get better and betterr. He will start for Minn and he will be an All-Star before his career is up just like O'neal became an All-Star.

    This move makes no sense to me.

    by Robert Hayes II on 6/27/2010 3:03 PM
  3. I think Batum just won over all the female Rudy fans. Way to go Nic, now if Rudy gets traded there won't be near the backlash. Infact, you need to post this in every women's magazine and the amount of Batum jerseys sold will sky rocket. Seriously though, it just proves how great of a team we have. I love this group of guys, they really seem to be operating with a level of chemistry that is far beyond other teams.

    by RipCityRevival on 6/28/2010 10:55 AM
  4. i like babbit though...

    by blah on 6/29/2010 2:51 PM
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