Okay, for me in Oregon, Sunday mornings involves a bacon-bagel-coffee-Oregonian run. I cherish it. Out and about before the world has truly awoke and here in Oregon it means driving about at 8 in the morning with the lights on because the rain is so dreary that it's still semi-dark out.
Inside The Oregonian today was a feature on the elusive Nic Batum. My man-crush now withered to merely "wistful" rather than "salivating," I read with earnest as I was eager to learn what was uncovered by Joe Freeman regarding The Courtship.
But before the parsing of words are re-pixelated here, first the emblem of my prescience:
By the time the day ended, Batum says, 16 teams had called his agent, Bouna Ndiaye, to express interest. Minnesota, New Orleans, Toronto and Cleveland were most aggressive. And despite what you might think, Minnesota did not offer the most money. A source with knowledge of Batum's free agency says Cleveland offered a whopping $52 million.
Oh my....I precisely predicted that $52 million amount in my very first fanpost here. I'm oddly proud of this, so I howl like the wandering wolf of Oregon that I am. As to why Nic didn't follow the $$$ to Lake Erie, Freeman does not proffer a rationale. One is left to presume that Batum's opinion of Cleveland is akin to Ichiro's.
Other interesting tidbits from the interview:
On how he sees his game evolving...
"I need someone to know what I can do, I have to show to everybody what I am. I'm not a scorer. I'm not a passer. I'm not a defender. I'm everything. I can get 15, five and five," Batum says, referring to points, rebounds and assists. "Maybe 17, six and five. I think I can do that or something around those numbers."
How the Wolves recruited...
At the time, the Blazers had no coach, an unsettled roster and a GM whom Batum had never met. Minnesota had All-Star forward Kevin Love, maestro point guard Ricky Rubio and a Hall of Fame coach in Rick Adelman. All three talked to him extensively and told him they thought he was the team's "missing piece." Batum felt "desired and respected" and, after a four-day sales pitch, he was sold on the Timberwolves.
On being European...
"The thing is, I wanted to challenge them," he says. "Because I'm European. And when people say, 'We love you,' they show you they love you. That's a stupid European, French thing. But it's true. After what happened in January, I wanted them to show me they loved me."
And one last plea to reunite with his heart...
"Minnesota was a good situation for me."
I'm very happy with AK- do not misconstrue my Batum yearning as anything other than that- but I do wish the best to Nic and hope he succeeds and proves the merit of the contract that Kahn offered him. If nothing else, it might indicate POBO is getting better at assessing talent.