Nicolas Batum is a restricted free agent, which gives his current team, the Portland Trail Blazers, the right to match any offer given to him. However, there has been a lot of noise recently that he wants to play for the Minnesota Timberwolves, who have signed him to a four-year, $45 million offer sheet. Now, that noise has been confirmed by the player himself.
In an interview with NBA.com's David Aldridge, Batum said that he's ready to move on from the Blazers and have a new beginning in Minnesota.
"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."
The Blazers had previously indicated they would match any offer to keep Batum, but that stance has softened in recent days. Batum told Aldridge that the two sides are now working on a sign-and-trade arrangement.
Batum is excited to play in new coach Rick Adelman's offense, believing that the Blazers' slower pace stunted his game a bit. The Timberwolves, according to Aldridge, told Batum they believe he is the "missing piece" for their roster.