May 15, 2012, 3:08 PM EDT
Nicolas Batum will be in demand this summer — he is nearly an elite defender on the wing, averaged 13.9 points per game last season and plays within himself on offense, and he shot 39 percent from three. Name a team that couldn’t use a guy like that?
The Spurs and other teams are reportedly interested in the Frenchman and the Blazers can forget about a hometown discount, Batum’s agent told Chris Haynes at CSNNW.com.
According to the agent for Portland Trail Blazers forward, Nicolas Batum, they will not be holding off on deals to allow the Trail Blazers to sign a couple of free agents before the team tends to his client, who’s a restricted free agent.
“The first good offer we get, we’re going with that,” Bouna Ndiaye of Comsport Management told CSNNW.com. “We’re not waiting for anything.”
You can still sense the bad blood there with the agent over contract extension talks that fell apart. But that will melt away if the money is right for both sides.
Timing will be key here. The Blazers would like to chase a couple free agents this summer, sign them, then be able to sign Batum over and above that. The Blazers have Batum’s Bird rights so they can go over the cap to get him in a way they can’t for others.
But if Batum gets an offer early in the free agent process the Blazers will only have three days to match, and if they sign him there will be a lot less room for free agents.
It would be interesting to see what Batum will be offered this summer. My guess would be three or four years in the $8 million range, which the Blazers likely match. But if the contract is larger, front-loaded or offered early in the free agent process Portland has a decision on its hands.
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