The Minnesota Timberwolves made an offer to restricted free agent Nicolas Batum last week in an effort to become Portland Central, but word quickly leaked that the Trail Blazers would match the Wolves offer. Fast forward a few days, however -- heading into the end of the free agency moratium on Wednesday morning -- and that seems as though it might not be the case.
Batum is likely sitll going to end up with the Blazers, but general manager Neil Olshey was rather coy when answering questions related to the restricted free agent during a press conference on Monday to introduce the team's new rookies.
Olshey asked: "Has Nic expressed to you that he doesn’t want to come back here?" Olshey answer: "Why wouldn't Nic want to come back here?''— Jason Quick (@jwquick) July 9, 2012
Answering questions with questions is always a risky proposition, of course, but Olshey's other comments at the press conference -- transcribed by our friends at Blazer's Edge -- are just as interesting.
What can you say about Nicolas Batum's situation?
We're not going to comment on free agents. We're in the moratorium. He's going through his process. As was reported, we had lunch with his agent. We had a good discussion with him. We have some strategic things that will have to be handled. We're all working off word of mouth until tomorrow night at 9 o'clock.
I thought you said you would match any offers?
Look, we've all heard things. I had a conversation with his agent, I had a conversation with David Kahn of the Timberwolves, that will remain private. Like I said, what you will see at the end of this, I believe what we did at the end of the day was in the best interests of the organization, today and in the future.
It's difficult to surmise exactly what Olshey's private conversations with Kahn led to or what "strategic things" the Blazers planned to get done, but this might just lead to a more interesting Batum saga than originally planned.