We are coming down to the wire and Neil Olshey has Paul Allen's checkbook in his hand. What will he do?
Batum just tweeted he is "Heading to ...", followed by "Heading to Amsterdam first LOL". Then later he tweeted "To PDX Oregon", so I think it's safe to say he is on his way for a physical before the Blazers match his offer sheet.
At this point Portland has $11.1M in cap space that they can spend in the next 22 hours (by 9 pm Wed) before officially matching Batum's offer sheet. After they match they will only have $5.5M in cap room left, minus anything they spend before matching. These numbers assume they stretched the cap hit from waiving Shawne Williams to maximize their cap room this year. And if they use up their cap room this year, they get an additional $2.575M Room Exception to spend.
On the other hand, the Blazers could choose to bank their cap room for next summer, and they could have as much as $7.2M available next year by not signing any contracts with guaranteed salaries beyond this 2012-13 season. That number assumes they took the entire cap hit from Shawne Williams waived salary this year to maximize their cap space next summer. (That number assumes the Blazers have or will pick up next year's options on Babbitt, E. Williams, and Smith, while letting Hickson and Jeffries walk away at the end of the year). Of course $7.2M isn't much more than the $5.15M MLE they get if they are over the cap next summer, and they don't get both.
So with less than 24 hours to go before they must match Batum's offer sheet (or let him go to Minnesota) what do you think Neil Olshey will and can do? Can he pull off a big deal for a free agent or a trade and use a substantial amount of the $11.1M before matching? Will he be unable to find a big deal and just match and try to spend the remaining $5.5M afterwards? Of has he already decided to bank up to $7.2M in cap room for next year?
Feel free to comment on what he should do with the money and what free agents or trades you think he can make as time slips away. (Please don't debate matching Batum - that has been and still is being debated endlessly in other posts. Thanks)