After reaching an agreement with Brandon Roy on Thursday night, the Minnesota Timberwolves have reached an agreement with restricted free agent swingman Nicolas Batum on a four-year, $45 million offer sheet. The deal reportedly includes bonuses that can push the deal over $50 million, but the Portland Trailblazers now have a right to match once the offer sheet can be officially signed next Wednesday.
Reports have varied about Batum’s desire to leave Portland, but Trailblazers’ GM Neil Olshey has made it clear the team intends to keep him and match any offers he receives. It looks possible that the bonuses that are in the offer sheet are being used to dissuade Portland from matching the deal. A sign-and-trade deal is possible if Portland chooses to match, and Batum’s agent has suggested his client wants to go to Minnesota either way. What exactly the Timberwolves would have to give up in that scenario is unclear to say the least at this point, but Wesley Johnson or Derrick Williams could be sought by the Trailblazers.
If the Timberwolves want Batum as badly as it has been suggested they do, Olshey may be able to virtually name his price in a sign-and-trade scenario. Given Timberwolves’ president of basketball operations David Kahn’s track record to this point, it is right for fans to be skeptical of any move he makes.