Haynes: Nicolas Batum's Agent Expands On Comments

Chris Haynes of reports that Bouna Ndiaye, agent for Portland Trail Blazers restricted free agent forward Nicolas Batum, has continued his efforts to get his client out of Portland to the Minnesota Timberwolves. ------------------------------- "His mind is not there in Portland. Out of that meeting with the Blazers (on Thursday), we hoped they would allow him to live his dream. The best case scenario is a sign-and-trade and we understand that. Hopefully, Paul Allen would never stand in the way of his dream to play for the Timberwolves," is what Nicolas Batum's agent, Bouna Ndiaye, told Saturday evening. ... "After Andre (Miller) left, it was really tough for him in year three. He wasn't able to get up and down and his role was staying in corner. He wasn't allowed to play his game. Being a Bruce Bowen in-the-corner player frustrated him. He wants to be him. He wants to play his game. "He's a player that likes to move around and that's what he likes about Minnesota. Requesting a sign-and-trade was part of it, but not all of it. He went there to tell them there's no hard feelings, I don't hate you, but my heart isn't there. That's what he told them." ------------------------------- Ndiaye first made similar comments on Thursday. Also on Thursday, a report indicated that the Blazers told Batum and his agent that they would match any offer sheet and would not participate in any sign-and-trades. Batum denied a report earlier this week that he was unhappy with the Blazers and preferred to sign with the Minnesota Timberwolves. On Tuesday, I reported the 4-year deal being discussed between the Minnesota Timberwolves and Batum sat in the $45-50 million range, including bonuses that are said to be both achievable and potentially extremely difficult to achieve. No sign-and-trade discussions had taken place yet between Portland and Minnesota regarding Batum as of Tuesday night. Batum left a weekend visit with the Timberwolves without an agreement on an offer. 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. ed: text edited, bumped to front page