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Hollinger: POR's Tough Call On Batum; Expect IND To Match Hibbert

John Hollinger of ESPN.com offers some thoughts on a potential offer sheet from the Minnesota Timberwolves to Portland Trail Blazers restricted free agent forward Nicolas Batum and Portland's potential offer sheet to Indiana Pacers center Roy Hibbert. ----------------------------------- Additionally, Batum's on-court off-court data suggests he may be wildly overrated. While lauded for his defensive potential, there is little-to-no evidence that he's been an impactful defender in the actual games; in fact, there's mounting evidence that he may be lousy at defense. It's possible he becomes an $11 million player, but he certainly hasn't been one up 'til now. I would lean toward matching if I were Portland, but this is not a clear call. If they don't want to, their best move might be to involve Minnesota in sign-and-trade talks between now and the 11th -- say, for Luke Ridnour, given the Blazers' point guard needs -- which would also allow them to time the deal when it suits them given their other cap plans. ... One presumes Indiana will match the Blazers' offer sheet, pushing the question down the line of which centers the Blazers pursue next. With Omer Asik -- another Portland Day 1 target, and the fourth deal of the day, which I wrote about here -- off the list, it appears the next in line would be Philadelphia center Spencer Hawes. ----------------------------------- Follow along and discuss the latest NBA league-wide free agency rumors and reports in this post. -- Ben Golliver | benjamin.golliver@gmail.com | Twitter
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