Apologies if this has been covered elsewhere, but I haven’t seen it. It’s been hard to follow all the varying reports about cap space and maneuvering in the Batum situation, so I wanted to try to sort out how this might go down.
Reports are unclear, but we must assume that Minnesota and Batum have reached an agreement on an offer sheet to be signed at midnight tonight. Since Batum has not been talking to other teams, Batum’s agent would have to be incompetent not to have this agreement in place.
However, Minnesota prefers to do a sign-and-trade with Portland prior to signing the offer sheet. Thus, Minnesota and Batum’s agent agreed to tell Portland that they have an offer sheet ready to be signed, but they would prefer a sign-and-trade. Further, and I think this is the big assumption I am making, once Batum signs the offer sheet he will no longer agree to a sign-and-trade if Portland matches (or maybe this is impossible anyway, it’s unclear to me). In other words, Portland’s effective deadline to decide is midnight tonight.
I’m also assuming that Batum doesn’t really have a preference between playing in Portland or Minnesota. Maybe he has a slight preference one way or the other, but ultimately he just wants to get paid. That’s why he is willing to play along.
As a result, there is effectively a deadline of midnight tonight for a deal to be struck between Portland and Minnesota. If a deal is struck, say for DWill and Webster’s expiring contract (or Wes and Webster’s expiring, Luke and Webster’s expiring, Wes and Luke, etc.) Minnesota gets Batum, sheds some salary as part of the trade, and has room to sign Roy, Stiemsma (or Hill) and Shved following the Brad Miller buyout and Darko amnesty.
If a deal is not struck, then Minnesota waives Webster and Miller (and amnesties Darko if needed) to sign Batum to the offer sheet. Again, Batum’s agent would have to be incompetent for this not to be agreed on. Minnesota ties up its cap space for 72 hours until Portland matches, but knows that Portland will match because if they weren’t they would have done the sign-and trade. Why lose something for nothing when you can get something? So Minnesota can negotiate terms with Stiemsma/Hill, Schved, or even Courtney Lee/OJ Mayo, etc. Or, based on reports this morning, Minnesota can try to get involved in the Dwight Howard trade. Once Portland officially matches Batum, cap space clears by the 14th and Minnesota signs Roy and anyone else they reach agreement with.
Bottom line - I think we know one way or the other on the Batum situation shortly after midnight tonight.
Please let me know if anyone thinks I am missing something or misapplying the cap space and/or restricted free agency rules.