and Anthony Burrola
that Portland Trail Blazers forward Nicolas Batum is not worth $10 million a year.
Casey Mabbott: In a word…no. Many Blazers fans will be sad to see Batum walk out the door, but the fact is that this team had an option to sign him to a realistic deal and failed, and now must live with their gamble, not buy their way out of it. The worst move this team can make is to re-sign Raymond Felton, the second worst would be to match an insane offer on Batum, and make the same mistakes they made clinging to the dream of Greg Oden. Batum is an outstanding defender, a starting caliber player, and yet is still in project mode, and may lack mental toughness. Is that worth 8-10 million of the Blazers’ cap space? No.
Anthony Burrola: Batum is obviously not a franchise player, but he is a necessary piece to win a championship. As such, he should be awarded between $6-$8 million a season as opposed to $9-$11 million.
Don’t get me wrong. Batum is a nice player. I love his potential, as I’ve even raved about before in a previous column. I don’t buy him as that kind of player, though. If you ask me, there’s a reason those players in Group B have all been traded: because of their contracts. Some trigger happy GM is always ready to make it rain like Lil Wayne and R. Kelly. Just look at DeAndre Jordan, or Gerald Wallace. Are those guys worth $10 million? No. Neither is Batum. And if the Blazers want to keep him, they need to make him realize that, because he’ll soon be an overpaid player not living up to his contract and thus available for trade once the Blazers start losing again.
ed: text edited, bumped to front page