Mar, 18, 2012; Oklahoma City, OK, USA; Portland Trail Blazers power forward LaMarcus Aldridge (12) looks on as Portland Trail Blazers small forward Nicolas Batum (88) drives to the basket against Oklahoma City Thunder small forward Kevin Durant (35) during the third quarter at Chesapeake Energy Arena Mandatory Credit: Richard Rowe-US PRESSWIRE

Blazers Match Timberwolves' Contract Offer For Nicolas Batum

The Timberwolves badly want Nicolas Batum and signed him to a four-year, $46 million offer sheet, but the Blazers matched it to retain the small forward.

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Blazers To Match Contract Offer For Nicolas Batum As Expected, According To Report

Nicolas Batum will indeed remain with Portland Trail Blazers. The Oregonian's Jason Quick reports that Portland will match the Minnesota Timberwolves' offer for him, and that general manager Neil Olshey is set to announce the deal this afternoon in Las Vegas.

Batum was the player in the middle of the 2012 NBA free agency period's most contentious tug of war west of Jeremy Lin. Batum and Minnesota agreed to terms early, but Portland indicated it would match. Then Batum expressed his desire to play in Minnesota and then the two teams worked on a sign-and-trade deal before talks fell through, paving the way for the Blazers to simply match the Wolves' offer.

Batum provides flexibility on the wing as an athletic small forward who can guard shooting guards, but his greatest asset is his three-point shooting touch. Batum's a career 37.2 percent shooter from distance, and made 39.1 percent of his threes in the 2011-12 season.

For more on the Blazers, visit Blazer's Edge.

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Blazers Could Receive Draft Picks In Nicolas Batum Sign And Trade, According To Report

While Portland Trail Blazers general manager Neil Olshey is publicly saying the Blazers will match any offer for Nicolas Batum, it appears they are actually preparing for his departure to the Minnesota Timberwolves. The two teams are currently working on a sign-and-trade arrangement where the Timberwolves would send draft picks back to Portland to secure Batum, according to ESPN's sources.

The current parameters of the deal have the Timberwolves sending two first-round draft picks and a veteran small forward to the Blazers, according to the report. The Timberwolves would have to get a third team involved to find the veteran small forward. Earlier reports suggested they were interested in trading for Chicago Bulls forward Kyle Korver, so perhaps that's the missing piece.

The Timberwolves cannot trade their own first-round pick in consecutive years -- they dealt their 2012 pick several years ago, and it ended up with the Hornets -- but they do have an additional lottery-protected pick from the Houston Rockets that they could send to Portland.

For more on the Blazers, visit Blazer's Edge, and make sure to read their posts on Batum's offer from the Wolves and Portland's free agent strategy.

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Blazers Still Plan On Matching Offers For Nicolas Batum, Neil Olshey Says

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.

For more on the Blazers, visit Blazer's Edge, and make sure to read their posts on Batum's offer from the Wolves and Portland's free agent strategy.

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Nicolas Batum Says He Wants To Play For Minnesota Timberwolves, Leave Portland Trail Blazers

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.

For more on Batum and the Blazers, head to Blazer's Edge. For more on the Wolves, hit up Canis Hoopus and SB Nation Minnesota.

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Blazers Decision On Nicolas Batum Will Be In 'Best Interest' Of Portland, GM Says

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.

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.

For more on Batum and the Blazers, head to Blazer's Edge. For more on the Wolves, hit up Canis Hoopus and SB Nation Minnesota.

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Blazers To Match Nicolas Batum Offer Sheet, According To Report

The Portland Trail Blazers have some solid building blocks on their roster, but the loss of restricted free agent Nicolas Batum would be a rather large blow. That apparently isn't going to happen, however, as the Blazers have decided they'll match any offer their French forward receives.

Technically no offers can be made until July 11, but it was reported on Thursday that the Minnesota Timberwolves intend to make an offer to Batum. As soon as new general manager Neil Oshley and the rest of the Blazers brass heard about that, they scheduled a face-to-face meeting to let Batum know that he'll have to play at least another year in Portland.

Some of the quotes from Batum's agent make it seem as though that might not make the player happy, but the Oregonian reports that the Blazers won't waver from their decision to keep him around.

After Batum met with Minnesota last weekend, Olshey requested a face-to-face meeting, and despite a sometimes acrimonious relationship with Blazers brass, Ndiaye agreed to the afternoon meeting at The Nines Hotel in downtown Portland. The Blazers were represented by Olshey, director of college scouting Chad Buchanan and salary cap specialist Joe Cronin.

"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."

It shouldn't be surprising that the Blazers intend to keep Batum -- even if they don't hammer out a long-term agreement, Portland will have to pay him less than $5 million this season -- but it'll be interesting to see if any feelings were hurt during this quick ordeal.

For more on Batum and the Blazers, head to Blazers Edge. For more on the Wolves, hit upCanis Hoopus and SB Nation Minnesota.

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Nicolas Batum Agrees To Timberwolves' Offer Sheet

The Minnesota Timberwolves have been rumored to be interested in signing Nicolas Batum to an offer sheet for a while, but they finally made it official Thursday night, agreeing to terms with the restricted free-agent forward.

The deal is reportedly worth $45 million over four years with bonuses that could make it worth $50 million. Batum's agent, Bouna Ndiaye, told the Associated Press Batum is hoping the Trail Blazers either do not match the offer or work out a sing-and-trade deal with Minnesota.

Previous reports have said Portland intends to match any offer sheet Batum signed and will not look into trading the fourth-year forward. Batum and his agent met with the Blazers officials Thursday to discuss the 23-year-old's future with the organization.

Ndiaye said Batum has great respect for the Blazers and their fans, but believes playing for Timberwolves coach Rick Adelman and alongside point guard Ricky Rubio and forward Kevin Love was the best situation for him.
"It was a very cordial meeting. There were no hard feelings," Ndiaye said. "So Nicolas basically talked about his four years with the Blazers and he expressed that maybe it was time for him to look at a place where it could be more happy."

Batum can't officially sign with Minnesota until July 11. Then, the Blazers would have three days to match the offer.

For more on the T'Wolves, head to Canis Hoopus and SB Nation Minnesota.

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Blazers Will Match T'Wolves' Offer For Nicolas Batum, According To Report

The Portland Trail Blazers are likely hoping that their offer sheet to the Pacers' Roy Hibbert remains unmatched until the deadline to retain his services. But they have wasted little time in deciding to match an offer for one of their own: Portland will reportedly match the Timberwolves' offer to forward Nicolas Batum, keeping him in Rip City for the next few years.

Minnesota had reportedly offered Batum $45-50 million over a four-year deal, a big bump up from the $4 million he is scheduled to make on the final year of his rookie contract with Portland. But with the Blazers matching the Wolves' offer, Batum will have a choice: stay in Portland and play out that year of his rookie contract, or sign the long-term deal with the Blazers and become a part of their core for years to come.

For more on Batum and the Blazers, head to Blazers Edge. For more on the Wolves, hit up Canis Hoopus and SB Nation Minnesota.

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Timberwolves Reportedly Set To Offer Nicolas Batum $45-50 Million Over 4 Years

The Minnesota Timberwolves will meet with small forward Nicolas Batum on Sunday, and according to Chris Haynes of CSN Northwest, are mulling an offer of $45-50 million over four years for the Frenchman. Batum is a restricted free agent, meaning that the Portland Trail Blazers will have the opportunity to match any contract offer sheet that Batum signs.

Haynes reports that the New Orleans Hornets and Toronto Raptors have also reached out to Batum. The Sacramento Kings have been reported to have interest as well, though likely not at that price.

The Wolves are said to be chasing Brandon Roy, who retired as a Blazer a year ago, and have a meeting set with Jordan Hill. What a successful Batum gambit would mean for the Wolves and second-year forward Derrick Williams is unclear; it might lock Batum in as a long-term reserve in Minnesota.

For more coverage of the Timberwolves, please visit Canis Hoopus and SB Nation Minnesota. For more on the Blazers, visit Blazers Edge.

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