DHawes22

Jul 10

D. Aldridge: Batum's First Choice Is Minnesota

By DHawes22 Posted in: Blazers, NicolasBatum, Timberwolves
In just a little over seven hours, a slew of free agents will be inking new deals as the free agent moratorium period is lifted tonight at 9:01 PM PST. And all eyes in Rip City will be on restricted free agent Nicolas Batum as he has reportedly verbally agreed to a four-year, $45 million contract with the Minnesota Timberwolves. Of course if Nic does indeed sign that offer sheet with the Wolves, the Trail Blazers will have 72 hours to match if they do so choose.

For the majority of the free agency period to date, everything out of Batum's camp has been announced through his agent. Outside of a few one-word answers about his future, Nicolas has been tight-lipped, deciding to focus his attention on the French National Team as they prepare for the upcoming Olympics rather than worry about contract negotiations. But NBA.com's David Aldridge caught up with the fourth-year swingman who made it crystal clear his top choice is to play for the Minnesota Timberwolves.

"I’m a restricted free agent,” Batum said. “I know the situation. Anywhere I sign, the Blazers are going to match. But my first choice was, and is, Minnesota. 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. Last year, they impressed everybody, and that’s what I respect. To have a great young point guard like (Ricky) Rubio, and a great coach like (Rick) Adelman, I really liked that project. And I think they think I’m the missing piece at small forward. That’s what they told me."

"When I talked with Adelman last week, I felt like he wants me, will play me the way I ask to play,” Batum said. “Last year was tough for all of us and I think I need a new start. I think I need something else. Again, it’s nothing against the city or the fans (in Portland)."

Every indication from Trail Blazers GM Neil Olshey has been that Portland will match any and all offers and isn't too fond of working out any sign-and-trades.

"We appreciated the face-to-face meeting to get our message across," Olshey said. "And that message was that we intend to match any offer and we will not facilitate any sign-and-trade scenarios."

Yet, Batum seems to be hopeful that a sign-and-trade can be facilitated.

“I know that they’re working on a sign and trade, and I’m very hopeful that both of them understand my situation, do the best both for me and for them," Batum said.

It should be an interesting next 24 hours for both fan bases in Portland and Minnesota. If Nicolas does sign an offer sheet immediately, that will take all sign-and-trade opportunities off the table. At that point, the ball would be in Portland's court: match or decline.

9 Comments

  1. All right, yeah, screw Batum then. He's not worth that money.

    by ChrisRozwod on 7/10/2012 2:30 PM
  2. We should move him in a sign and trade with Derrick Williams and picks. I don't want to see Batum back unless he wanted to be here. His contract would take away the team's flexibility for a guy who floats through half of his games. Sign and trade!

    by ChrisRozwod on 7/10/2012 2:45 PM
  3. If we would rather play for Minnesota then let him play there. His contract is huge and he is very inconsistent. Iguodala wouldn't very be great replacement. Hes past his prime and his contract is worse than Batums. I would think it would be best for Portland to have a sign and trade. Look to get Rudy Gay, if not him get Derrick Willliams and Luke Ridnour. Then all Portland needs his a starting Center and a back-up PF to get us back in the playoffs. Javale Mcgee would be the best choice in my opinon. Then go after a 4 like Carl Landry or Dejuan Blair.

    by Siccolo on 7/10/2012 3:04 PM
  4. Let's do a sign & trade giving them Batum & trade exception/future draft pick(s) for Pekovic AND Derrick Williams. THAT would b an AWESOME deal! EVEN IF Batum were more consistent... I'd do THAT deal EVERY/ANY day! :)

    by Simpson on 7/10/2012 3:34 PM
  5. I always find it funny when players make decisions to have a chance at winning but it ends up being laughable. I mean... seriously Batum? I know the Blazers aren't in the greatest position, but the Wolves are going no where. Even with Roy and Batum, that team isn't likely to make the playoffs. They impressed everyone last year? You mean like how the Blazers impressed everyone in 2008-09 when they went 54-28? The last time the Wolves had a record even remotely close to that, Garnet was on the team. Wolves won like 22 games last season. Even after all the crap the Blazers went to, they still won games.

    Last year was tough? Then why the hell didn't he get out there and play good basketball? None of the Blazers did. Hardly were we relying on Batum to be a leader.

    He also has no room to talk. We've been waiting for him to come out of his shell or ages. People for some reason say he doesn't have the opportunity but I recall a bunch of times that Batum would shy away from the ball and no be aggressive. He's getting offered 12.5m a year, isn't even anywhere close to that amount of money, and is talking about making choices? He's also a restricted free agent. He can't make the decision. Portland technically owns him. Might as well resign him and send him back to school because he's talking like a moron.

    I bet I could sell my crappy 93 escort to Batum for $20,000. Everyone knows Minnesota isn't anywhere near being a playoff contender. The Blazers have made the right decisions to improve this season. The Wolves have been making terrible decisions for the past couple of years. Batum isn't the missing piece to that team.

    I say do a sign and trade. Demand either Williams or Pekovich.

    by Herr on 7/10/2012 5:12 PM
  6. Batum has had a great four-year stint with the Blazers. And I didn't think we played him to the best of his abilities. But he wants to go to Minnesota, I don't know why (have you ever seen a Wolves home game? about 30 people show up) But I think that there are a couple other options in free-agency such as: Gerald Green (Brooklyn Nets), C.J. Miles (Utah Jazz), and Courtney Lee (Houston Rockets) who have all have had good stats in their careers. And could step up and fill Batum's roll quite nicely. Also non of those players are going to ask for more than $10 mill a year. Among other thing these players also have better spot up shooting percentages than Nic did and that was the one thing we asked him to do on offense. I also realize we will be giving up some strength on the defensive end but Roy Hibbert will really help us when one of these guys gets beat every once in a while. So all in all I think that Nic was a fan- favorite here in Portland but he wants to be "happy" and if that's not here in Portland than that's okay with me.

    by WES"3" MAT"2"S on 7/10/2012 8:38 PM
  7. The thing is, Nico doesn't have a first choice, the Blazers do. We match and have until the trade deadline to trade him for players we really want if we're unhappy with his production. I think the right coach will make him value his role here. If not, we have options down the road. With Claver coming on board it won't be a position of desperation. Claver, Babbit and Batum...pretty good depth. Lillard is going to make Nico a better player.

    by riverman on 7/11/2012 10:36 AM
  8. I'm also more interested in whether LA wants to play with Nic than if Nic wants to play for the Blazers...Nic is not an allstar. If he wants to be one it's like my old coach used to say...you want the ball? go get it!

    by riverman on 7/11/2012 10:38 AM
  9. Perfect. Sign him and trade him for Kevin Love. There's our big.
    Other than that, don't ask him what he wants, he's a commodity. You don't ask a jug of orange juice whether it wants to be sold at Winn Co or Fred Meyer. Why ask him at all unless your goal is for people from Portland to hate him.

    by Blazerfever on 7/11/2012 12:38 PM
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