Blazers Intend to Keep Nicolas Batum Despite Trade Offers from Minnesota

by July 12, 2012

Portland GM Neil Olshey made the Blazers’ position on the awkward Nic Batum situation crystal clear (he’s not going anywhere), despite a new trade offer from Minnesota. Per the Columbian and Star Tribune: “Portland restricted free agent Nicolas Batum is in France right now, but the forward was on record Tuesday saying that Minnesota was his preferred destination once the season began. And when Blazers general manager Neil Olshey was asked about Batum’s desire, he terminated all chances at becoming a future spokesman for the Land of 10,000 Lakes. ‘I guess he’s into mosquito bites and frostbite,’ Olshey said. Batum’s agent, Bouna Ndiaye, has been anything but subtle about broadcasting his client’s aspirations of becoming a Timberwolf, going so far as to say that Nic was unhappy in Portland. Batum denied that claim, which was probably smart, because Olshey said Wednesday that he still intended to match any offer sheet Minnesota would tender, even though the Wolves’ offer reportedly is for $45 million over four years. ‘I don’t believe in letting talent walk out the door,’ Olshey added. And apparently, Ndiaye doesn’t believe in negotiating. At least not in Batum’s case. Olshey said that the agent refused to sit down with him and work out a deal, choosing instead to let Batum test the free agent market. […] The Timberwolves accelerated their contentious pursuit of Portland restricted free agent Nicolas Batum on Wednesday, moving toward reaching a sign-and-trade arrangement for the 23-year-old swingman or offering Batum a painfully rich offer sheet that the Trail Blazers would have three days to match. ESPN the Magazine reported the teams were discussing a deal that would send two first-round picks and a veteran small forward from another team to the Blazers for Batum. The report said the Wolves will sign Batum to that offer sheet — Batum’s agent last week said the Wolves agreed to a four-year deal that will pay at least $45 million — if a trade agreement wasn’t reached by Wednesday night. The report didn’t identify the veteran small forward, but it is believed to be Chicago’s Kyle Korver, whose presence would fill Batum’s spot in Portland, give the Blazers the corner shooter they’ll lack and whose one-year contract would give the Blazers salary-cap flexibility next summer.”