The Road to Batum

More than a few of us believe Nic Batum is the perfect player for the Wolves. I concur. After the break, I illustrate how Kahn can get there and the things he MUST do to bring the Frenchman here. Oh, and with a little Morrow on the side if anyone is awake at 600 First Avenue.

First, here is my salary resource for this little project:

Two, I make the assumption from varying news reports that the cap for next season will remain around $58 million and possibly creep up to 60 or 61 million. In 2013-14 is when the "harder" numbers of the new CBA come in to play. Kahn can cross that bridge when he gets there. For now I'm going to assume a $58 million cap once more next year.

Third, I'm guessing Love's new contact will pay him in the vicinity of $15 million next season.

Okay, with these assumptions, what do we have?

Roughly $49 million on the hook to the following 10 players: Love, Rubio, Pek, Darko, JJ, Luke, D-Dub, Wes, Wayne and Lee.

I assume the team options for Martell and Miller will not be picked up at this point.

Now, that leaves Beas and AR and their restricted status. If you offer them QOs, those contract holds chew up your cap space. For the two of them combined- that's 12 million. Bye bye cap space.

I am of the firm opinion that under no circumstances can these two receive QOs if they remain with the team after the March trade deadline.

"But, OR-7," you may be asking, "what amount of cap space is necessary to get Batum here?" A very important question. My answer: $13 million. A 4 year contract for $13 million/per year is what Kahn needs to be focused upon. Furthermore, you must be asking how I came up with the grand number of $13 million? Another excellent question.

Check the Blazers out:

More assumptions to be made:

1. Owner Paul Allen is looking to become a Scrooge on the bottom line- he doesn't want to pay the tax any longer.

2. I find it hard to believe Wallace and Crawford are not directing their agents to exercise their player options for 2012/13.

3. The Blazer star, LaMarcus Aldridge, is already slated to make $13 million next season.

And that is what is most interesting about the $13 million. Leaving aside Portland assumptions 1 & 2 for a moment, NBA locker rooms have a pecking order that follows along who's getting the most Benjamins. No way do the Blazers want to tick off their stud by paying a player who the coach won't currently play more than 30 minutes a night $13 million per year. I admit, the last point is arguable: "well doesn't that mean Batum isn't worth the large payday?" For them, yes. Nate McMillan is a different coach, different system and they continue to be snarky with Nic here in PDX (although not Blazer fans- they love him). He can play for 'Sota at 13 million because our stud will be higher. Wolves locker room pecking order is sound.

And just to quickly address points 1 and 2, I don't see Paul Allen spending 13 million for a player that backups the player Coach prefers (Wallace) and is not a PG or center (the team's two GLARING holes).

Back to the Wolves side of the ledger....

So, assuming, 9 million in space if we do not go forward with Beas and AR, how do we grab that extra room?

The candidates: Luke, Darko and Wes. Any of them can be amnestied with Darko the most likely candidate as Mr. Taylor would have to eat only one year of the contract. Darko's roughly 5 million would get us to $14 million in space, which works, but is a little too tight for my comfort.

What we want is a bit more, though, correct? Kahn should be attacking his salary cap issues like a pack of Wolves!

Luke would appear to be the most viable trade candidate as he is a vet PG and is on a very reasonable deal for such services. Luke needs to be gone by the trade deadline. That will be sign #1 that Kahn is paying attention.

Oh, and I mentioned Anthony Morrow, didn't I? I did. If the Dwight Howard saga plays out to the point where the Nets know they are not getting D12, D-Will is most certainly going to be sold along to recoup something from the Jazz trade. If I'm Kahn, I pounce on that rebuilding mojo and offer Wes and a future #1 for Morrow. Make it the Utah, Memphis or a protected Minny pick- doesn't matter. Take advantage- get Morrow!

There, I've added Morrow and Batum and still left us with $6 million in space (assuming Darko amnesty) to go out and get a low usage, defensive center and whatever other flavored vet(s) we need to rock the NBA world in 2012/13.

Kahn has to strategize his way to Batum, at least, and I really hope he's paying attention. If all the movement fails to land Batum, so be it, as you've left yourself the versatility to reconstruct a club that is more attuned to RA's system.

Thoughts? How'd I do for my first FanPost?

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