The Portland Trail Blazers have a couple of irons in the fire in the 2012 NBA free agency period, but the one that represents retaining Nicolas Batum is about to get pulled out. Portland GM Neil Olshey said Wednesday that the Blazers still plan on matching a Timberwolves offer sheet for Nicolas Batum.
The Wolves have signed Batum to a four-year, $45 million offer sheet, but Portland can match any offers for Batum, a restricted free agent. The main reason Portland wouldn't do so is to execute a sign-and-trade deal with Minnesota, but Olshey also said Wednesday that he doesn't see assets worth working out such a deal on Minnesota's roster.
Batum, for his part, has said that he wants to play for the Timberwolves. Letting Batum slip away to Minnesota would help clear room for Portland to sign Roy Hibbert, but the Indiana Pacers are set to match Portland's offer sheet for Hibbert, meaning there is plenty of room to sign Batum.