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Nicolas Batum is very excited to agree to offer sheet with Timberwolves. Too bad Portland thinks that’s adorable.

Jul 6, 2012, 12:26 AM EDT

Portland Trail Blazers small forward Nicolas Batum defends against Sacramento Kings guard Marcus Thornton in Portland Reuters

We’ve got another “my heart is in XXXX” that’s pointless. At some point, these players need to accept their fate as restricted free agents and move on. This is the CBA, it’s life in the NBA, and if you wanted to accept the qualifying offer you could. But no.

Nicolas Batum has agreed to a four-year, $45 million offer sheet with the Minnesota Timberwolves who have been after him for a week, the AP reports. The deal includes bonuses to push the total to $50 million, putting the average at $12.5 million per year. A hefty price, but in all honesty, well worth it, especially for the Wolves.

The Wolves have been dying for a small forward who is serviceable for years. Martell Webster flamed out, Derrick Williams is a four trying to play the 3, and Wes Johnson isn’t big enough to log minutes there. Batum, though, is perfect. Long and athletic, with superb range from the perimeter and playmaking abilities, he fits perfectly with the Wolves and his agent is making noise about how much he wants to be there (just like Eric Gordon).

And yet, as they say, the Portland Trail Blazers could not give a flip.

Every indication, including a report earlier in the day says that Portland will match the offer, and do so with a song in its heart and a skip in its step. They think this is hilarious and not at all a serious problem. Portland has the cap space, the motivation, and the intention to match Batum’s offer, and they will. Batum will remain a Trail Blazer for the foreseeable future.

It’s yet more proof that forgoing restricted free agency is perhaps the better way to go if you don’t care about the extra year or if you are unlikely to get the extra year from your current club. But instead, Batum will be paid, and handsomely. The Blazers retain a small forward with great upside still and a 17.3 PER.

Nice try, Wolves. Nice try.

  1. greatminnesotasportsmind - Jul 6, 2012 at 12:38 AM

    Of course they will match it, then sign and trade him to Minnesota

    • mojomarc - Jul 6, 2012 at 1:27 AM

      Of course they won’t, because that would be a violation of the CBA #fail

      • caseybojangles - Jul 6, 2012 at 11:48 AM

        i’m going with hashtagging in a online sports comment section as the bigger fail here

  2. rickyspanish - Jul 6, 2012 at 12:41 AM

    That sucks, don’t care about either team, but having to back to Portland when you don’t want to? That super sucks. Minnesota and Batum are getting screwed.

    • nvandy42 - Jul 6, 2012 at 12:14 PM

      dont care about either team yet your username is RickySpanish……. interesting coincidence. I’m a T-Wolves fan and I wear it proudly. Give us a howl buddy, stop hiding! hahaha

  3. Justin - Jul 6, 2012 at 12:45 AM

    Rumors are Wolves offered Martell Webster and Derrick Williams in a sign-and-trade attempt. I guess Portland shot that down pretty quick though.

    http://minnesporta.com/

  4. gnu2308 - Jul 6, 2012 at 12:45 AM

    Poison pill for the Blazers to swallow? The $5 million + bonus all goes on the front end of the contract until it is official. Which means the Blazers have to clear $17 million from their cap midnight next Wednesday.

    So they cannot sit on the Batum contract while dealing with the Hibbert offer…. So they will have to accept the Batum offer sheet… which then puts $12.5 million on their cap…. you tell me, do they have enough room at that point to offer Hibbert max money?

    I think people are assuming they can offer Hibbert money and sign Batum later and go over the cap. That does not look to be true.

  5. meadowlark89 - Jul 6, 2012 at 12:47 AM

    Batum with the Wolves would be sweet, but what if Portland ends up with Hibbert would they still be able to afford him.

  6. monkeyhateclean - Jul 6, 2012 at 1:02 AM

    If Batum really wants out of Portland (and if his agent is to be believed, he really wants out of Portland) its really rather simple:

    Don’t sign their offer sheet.
    Accept the 1 year, $3.1 million QO the Blazers have to give him (or let him become a UFA)
    Publicly ridicule all Portland offers him, as he becomes a UFA.
    Sign with Minny (or any other team he chooses), enjoying that Portland will get ZERO COMPENSATION when he walks.

    • marksp18 - Jul 6, 2012 at 7:12 AM

      This is true and I agree except about the public ridicule part. No need for that. He just sees the Wolves as a team that can compete and has a good chance to get to the playoffs while the Blazers look to be rebuilding.

      It is hard for these guys to pass on getting that kind of guaranteed contract. He can wait a year as you say, but what happens if he does not have as good of a year? What happens if he gets hurt? The 3.1 mil vs 12.5 mil (just in one year) is a lot of money to leave on the table. Money he never can get back.

      In the end, he has to sign the contract and play for the Blazers if they match. He cannot pass on this opportunity of a lifetime to sign a 4 year 45 mil deal most of which is guaranteed. If he had already made some big money then I could see it. But this will be his first big contract.

      Anything can happen to him and he may never get a contract offer like this again.

  7. siege102 - Jul 6, 2012 at 1:04 AM

    Why, if a RFA really wants to leave their team, would he sign an offer with another team, especially when its widely known the offer will be matched? Why not just play out the year and leave on your own terms? I understand if they don’t have a strong preference of where they play, they just want the money and the security from whoever. But in the case of Batum (and maybe Eric Gordon, though that was just speculation), play it out and go from there if you don’t want to be there long-term.

    • monkeyhateclean - Jul 6, 2012 at 1:19 AM

      Precisely.

      The RFA is a trivial 1-year prison sentence, with the promise of becoming an UFA the following year, For the right player, this can be a career-changer.

      POR thinks they are play hardball, but the reality is, Batum holds ALL the cards. He takes their QO this year. He walks as a UFA (with plenty of suitors) next year, leaving the Blazers completely uncompensated.

      • mojomarc - Jul 6, 2012 at 1:30 AM

        If Batum were to suffer a career-ending injury while playing under the QO, he would be out as much as $47m. You can only insure contracts for the value, not potential future value.

        If Batum’s agent were really smart, he wouldn’t sign Minny’s sheet but instead go to Toronto or another team that has interest, get them to offer him a sheet, force Portland to match and then sign-and-trade to Minny. But that would require Batum to really want to leave Portland. That doesn’t seem to be the case, or at least not the primary motivation here. The primary motivation seems to be getting that max contract money.

      • marksp18 - Jul 6, 2012 at 7:15 AM

        3.1 mil vs 45 mil guaranteed is not trivial.

        Your argument makes a lot of assumptions. First that he will stay healthy and put up similar stats. Who knows how he will play on a likely to be worse Portland team.

        While I agree with you in principle, the reality is he cannot and should not leave that money on the table because it may never be back on the table. When you have the opportunity to get paid like that, you take it and worry about things later.

        Perhaps Portland will reconsider and trade him?

  8. gnu2308 - Jul 6, 2012 at 1:08 AM

    5) Performance Bonuses. (a) In order for a contract to be approved, a team must have Room for every bonus that the player may earn in the first year of the contract.

    (b) After a contract is approved, the amount of the bonus will be included in the Team Salary if the bonus would have been earned based on the prior season’s performance, or if the bonus is otherwise determined by an independent expert to be “very likely to be earned.”

  9. gnu2308 - Jul 6, 2012 at 1:48 AM

    Let us also keep in mind David Kahn is good friends with Donnie Walsh who is now in charge of the Pacers. As much as the Blazers are annoyed the Wolves made the offer, I am sure the Pacers are annoyed the Blazers are making an offer for Hibbert.

    Maybe Indiana waits 3 days to decide whether to match or not… making it more difficult for the Blazers to get Batums offer signed without using up the Hibbert money.

  10. saint1997 - Jul 6, 2012 at 1:48 AM

    I’m almost certain Gordon and Batum must be sabre-rattling and just want to get paid. If they wanted to leave they’d play out the year and leave as UFA

  11. 00maltliquor - Jul 6, 2012 at 1:53 AM

    O-VER-PAID!!!!!!

    Watch this bite them in the ass when it comes time to re-sign Rubio to a max deal (hell, everyones getting ‘em) and same for Pekovic (cause he’s a C that can run and chew gum at the same time he’ll fetch at least 10 mil). If they’d just be patient and let Williams develope he’d be fine as their SF (HE IS NOT A PF!). That combined with Love’s new, bigger contract and this team is going to have to split up before they even have a fair chance at being a contender with this nice roster. I HATE THE NEW CBA!!!

  12. BigBeachBall - Jul 6, 2012 at 1:58 AM

    you should punch yourself in the face for using the word adorable…

    • personalspaceinvader - Jul 6, 2012 at 2:35 AM

      What an alpha male, this guy.

      • slopmcflop - Jul 6, 2012 at 3:02 PM

        You said it. What’s the harm in using that word? Does reading it make him question his own masculinity? If that’s the case, how cute.

  13. zapuda - Jul 6, 2012 at 2:30 AM

    What’s with all of this “the blazers are annoyed they offered him” crap? Is that not the whole point of RFA, did they not do the same to the Pacers with Hibbert? Sounds like someone’s pissed Brandon Roy chose the T’Wolves.

  14. jigwig13 - Jul 6, 2012 at 5:10 AM

    I seen a couple why sign it posts…why not..why risk it..what if he gets hurt and he only signed a the one yr deal..take the money while its there because u never know..also 12.5 mil is a good reason to suck it up and play somewhere if u really don’t want too

  15. professoressadiesel - Jul 6, 2012 at 7:16 AM

    I thought Portland couldn’t keep Hibbert’s Max offer on the table if Batum signed the Minnesota offer sheet and they wanted to match.

    Can anyone clarify?

    • blazenhawks - Jul 6, 2012 at 12:19 PM

      I don’t mind this at all I want the Vlazers to do it. Batum has no much talent and Nate Mcmullin did not use him In the right way. And our new coach who ever that may be (Brian shaw) will use him the right way I hope. And to clerify Portland can still get Hibbert and Batum it will put them them over the cap but they can since Batum is a RFA Portland has first rights

  16. md23rewlz - Jul 6, 2012 at 2:45 PM

    Batum deserves to be able to leave. He got jerked around in his role (bench to starter to bench to starter etc etc) and minutes throughout the season. If Portland isn’t going to show consistent faith in him (and they haven’t) then I don’t blame him at all for wanting to jump ship. Dude has the ability to do a little bit of everything–lots of talent there. Too bad he’s stuck in a situation where the coaching staff has no clue how they want to use him. But that’s life in the NBA when you’re a restricted free agent. **shrug**

  17. mnskolvikes - Jul 7, 2012 at 8:31 AM

    So can’t Batum just play his final year in Portland and then just be a free agent and then sign with Minny?

    • Kurt Helin - Jul 7, 2012 at 11:19 AM

      He could. However, leaving all that money on the table with the risk of injury is too great.

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