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.