@MikeWellsNBA The Pacer's are matching Portland's 4-year, $58 million offer to Roy Hibbert, according to a source
I wrote a few days ago that I believed that what Portland decided regarding Nicolas Batum would hinge on what Indiana decided regarding Roy Hibbert. It now appears that that is indeed the case.
Speaking towards Portland's plans now that Hibbert is returning to the Pacers, Trailblazers' GM Nick Olshey had this to say:
"I don’t see the guys who fit the criteria we are looking for. I’m not going hamstring the org. with $7-8 million contracts on guys who don’t move the needle. It’s counterproductive.’’
This is interesting in a couple ways. For one, Batum is technically a part of the free agent market. This would seem to imply that when Olshey says he "doesn't see the guys who fit the criteria we are looking for", he is including Batum in the line of thought. Second, he seems to have drawn a line in the sand at the $7 million/year range. If you'll all remember, the Blazers tried to re-sign Batum back in January in the $6mil/year range, and he rejected that. So to Olshey, Batum does fit the criteria of being a guy who would cost more than $7mil/year without moving the needle.
This also jives with what I've been hearing about Portland's mindset on this: all or nothing. They clearly don't think Batum is worth $12mil/year. They barely offered him half of that in January. But if they had landed Hibbert, they would have been willing to pay him that anyway to field what they believed would be a genuinely competitive team. If not, then the price tag would be too high. Batum's not the type of player to make a bad team good.
So the sum take-away of this is, if the Blazers won't spend more than $7 mil, and Batum won't sign for less than $7 mil, then the Blazers are not resigning Batum.
Also, as noted, Olshey's response to the question of if Batum said he doesn't want to return to Portland was halfhearted and pretty dodgy.
Olshey asked: "Has Nic expressed to you that he doesn’t want to come back here?" Olshey answer: "Why wouldn’t Nic want to come back here?’’
Granted, I don't particularly condone what Batum's agent did in airing that kind of laundry (although let's not act like Kahn didn't have something to do with that as well....), it would appear that what he said on behalf of his client was true. Batum doesn't want to return to Portland. He wants to play here.
Nothing's done until it's done, but this seems pretty safe to call at this point: if the Wolves can make the finances work out to actually put that $45mil offer on the table, Nic Batum will be a Timberwolf this season.
Yay or Nay?