FanShot

Haynes: Blazers RFA F Nicolas Batum Signs Timberwolves' Offer Sheet

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Chris Haynes of CSNNW.com reports that Portland Trail Blazers restricted free agent forward Nicolas Batum has signed a 4-year offer sheet with the Minnesota Timberwolves. ------------------------------ A source close to the situation has indicated Nic Batum has just signed a Minnesota offer sheet. The contract is for 4 years, $46.5 million. ------------------------------ The Blazers have three days to decide whether or not to match the offer and retain Batum once the offer sheet is officially submitted. Update: Jerry Zgoda of the Star Tribune with a few notes. ------------------------------ Wolves owner Glen Taylor said the team will submit the signed $46.5 million offer sheet to the NBA by the end of business today, a distinction that gives the Blazers one last chance to agree to a sign-and-trade. ... Taylor said he believes the Blazers have seen the offer sheet. "You call their bluff," he said. Once submitted, you can bet two things: The Blazers will match and they'll take probably nearly all 72 hours to do it. ------------------------------ Earlier Thursday, it was reported that the Timberwolves would use their amnesty clause on center Darko Milicic in order to create the cap space necessary to make their offer to Batum. The Blazers and Timberwolves had reportedly discussed some sign-and-trade scenarios but Blazers GM Neil Olshey said on Wednesday that his team still planned to match all offers to Batum. Olshey also reportedly told Batum and his agent, Bouna Ndiaye, during a face-to-face meeting last week that the Blazers would match any offer sheets. A signed and submitted offer sheet eliminates the possibility of a sign-and-trade. Earlier this week, Batum indicated the Timberwolves were his "first choice" after previously denying a report that indicated that he wanted "no part" of Portland. Batum also said on Tuesday that he would not be upset if he returns to Portland. Ndiaye made numerous comments indicating that his client would prefer to play for the Timberwolves rather than the Blazers next season. He even said that it Batum's "dream" to play in Minnesota. Prior to Tuesday's interviews, Batum had declined comment on his situation. Batum said back in April that he was "99 percent" sure that the Blazers would match any offer made to him and the team's ownership and management has consistently referred to him as one of the roster's core pieces. The Blazers extended a qualifying offer to Batum back in June. Batum, 23, averaged 13.9 points, 4.6 rebounds, 1.4 assists, 1.0 blocks and 1.0 steals in 30.4 minutes for the Blazers last season. Thanks to Blazerfan72 in the FanShots. -- Ben Golliver | benjamin.golliver@gmail.com | Twitter
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