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Jaynes: RFA F Nicolas Batum Unhappy With Blazers?

Dwight Jaynes of CSNNW.com reports that restricted free agent forward Nicolas Batum could be unhappy with the Portland Trail Blazers. ------------------------------- Minnesota has reportedly offered Batum $45 million over four seasons but is said to be willing to negotiate a sign-and-trade deal with the Trail Blazers for a package that might include players and future draft choices. Batum's agent tried to negotiate a contract extension during the season but believes the team low-balled him with an offer estimated around $6 million. "Batum never wants to play in Portland again," the source said. "And has determined that Minnesota is the best for him and his family." ------------------------------- Batum quickly posted a denial on Twitter... ------------------------------- trust me I didn't... ------------------------------- Jason Quick of The Oregonian tweets... ------------------------------- Sounds like agent for Nicolas Batum is at it again, trying to create contentious environment to provide some illusion of leverage. #rookie ------------------------------- Joe Freeman of The Oregonian tweets... ------------------------------- The latest Batum "development" smells like David Kahn to me. ------------------------------- A league source with knowledge of the negotiations has confirmed two aspects of the report. First, that Batum was offered a $26 million contract over four years by the Blazers back in January. It's unclear whether that was a first, second or final offer. Second, that the 4-year deal being discussed between the Minnesota Timberwolves and Batum sits in the $45-50 million range, including bonuses that are said to be both achievable and potentially extremely difficult to achieve. As of Tuesday night, the Timberwolves and Batum had still yet to reach an "official" verbal agreement on an offer sheet. No sign-and-trade discussions have taken place yet between Portland and Minnesota regarding Batum. Update: I've been getting a number of emails on this situation. Please read this and commit it to memory until a verbal agreement has been reached between Batum and one of his suitors. Batum left a weekend visit with the Timberwolves without an agreement on an offer. He's set to meet with the Blazers later this week. His other suitors are said to include the New Orleans Hornets, Toronto Raptors and Cleveland Cavaliers. Suitors can offer Batum a 4-year contract while Portland can add a fifth year. Offer sheets cannot be signed until July 11, after the NBA's free agency moratorium is completed. At that point, the Blazers would have three days to match. 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 last week. 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. -- Ben Golliver | benjamin.golliver@gmail.com | Twitter
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