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Ziller: There's "No Guarantee" Blazers Shell Out For Nicolas Batum?

Tom Ziller writes on SacTown Royalty that Portland Trail Blazers restricted free agent forward Nicolas Batum could wind up elsewhere this summer. ----------------------------------- There are a couple things about Nicolas Batum that makes me think that his restricted free agency period will be a good one. First, he's the type of player who has fanatic fans around the league, not just in bleacher bums like us, but in front offices. All of the rumors that enter the conversation with Batum attached are tied to glowing reviews from GMs or scouts. The other thing about Batum is that Portland is completely discombobulated right now. They have a new GM (Neil Olshey) who pretty much has carte blanche to start from scratch. They don't have a coach. They have an owner who once fired a GM an hour before the draft. This is a weird team in a weird spot, and there's no guarantee that Olshey and Paul Allen will be willing to spend so much money on Batum. Batum is the level of player that makes restricted free agency fairly dicey for his incumbent team. He's not a max player or anything, so there's legit opportunity for debate as to his deserved salary. He's like DeAndre Jordan, a little: the right team could talk themselves into dropping eight figures a year on him, and while it would hurt, they'd rationalize it. And, like Jordan, the incumbent could rationalize matching because, you know, we need him. (We see how that worked out for the Clippers, and heck Olshey!, last time.) ----------------------------------- Back in April, prior to Olshey's hiring, Batum said that he was "99 percent" sure he would be back with the Blazers. -- Ben Golliver | benjamin.golliver@gmail.com | Twitter
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