Henry Abbott of ESPN.com reports Friday that the Portland Trail Blazers paid the Minnesota Timberwolves $1.5 million to settle a dispute over a 2010 trade involving Martell Webster.
Today, two sources directly involved in the talks tell me that in fact the dispute led to depositions in preparation for a hearing, and those depositions did not go well for the Blazers.
As a result, Portland agreed to pay Minnesota $1.5 million -- said to be one of the largest such agreements in league history -- to settle the matter before it reached the hearing stage.
The Trail Blazers declined to comment.
This news comes one day after president David Kahn was officially dumped by the Timberwolves.
A Blazers spokesperson confirmed back in March that the organization has reached a resolution with the Timberwolves but would not elaborate at the time.
"The Portland Trail Blazers and Minnesota Timberwolves have resolved this matter amicably," the spokesperson said. "We have no further comment."
It was unclear at the time whether the resolution involves any particular settlement. The Timberwolves were reportedly seeking cash and/or draft pick(s) as compensation.
Also in March, Michael Lee of The Washington Post reported that a Timberwolves spokesperson also said that the issue had been put to bed, using the exact same wording.
The Timberwolves sought financial and/or draft reimbursement from the Portland Trail Blazers for failing to fully disclose Webster's health ailments when the two teams made a trade in July 2010. While terms of the settlement were never publicized, a Timberwolves spokesperson said the two teams "have resolved this matter amicably."
Back In January, Darren Wolfson of ESPN1500.com reported that the matter was "closed," but that both teams were "sworn to secrecy" regarding the details of the resolution.
Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor said that a resolution was close in October 2012. At the time, the Blazers refused to comment.
The Blazers sent Webster to the Timberwolves in exchange for Ryan Gomes and the pick used to select Luke Babbitt. Webster appeared in just 46 games during the 2010-11 season, the first following the trade, after undergoing back surgery in October 2010. He then appeared in just 47 games during the 2011-12 season after undergoing another back surgery in September 2011.
There was a recent compensation precedent in a somewhat similar situation. Back in June, Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports reported that the Oklahoma City Thunder had to turn over a 2013 second-round pick (originally belonging to the Charlotte Bobcats) to the Boston Celtics after the NBA ruled the Thunder's medical staff did not properly inform the team's management about the condition of forward Jeff Green's heart. Green was traded by the Thunder to the Celtics at the 2011 trade deadline but then sat out the entire 2011-12 season after undergoing heart surgery.
Important point (originally noted in March): the NBA formally announced that the pick transferred in the resolution between the Celtics and Thunder. No such announcement was made by the league, the Blazers or the Timberwolves.
Webster, 26, signed with the Washington Wizards after being released by the Timberwolves this summer.
Portland took Webster, a Seattle-area native, with the No. 6 pick in the 2005 NBA Draft.
-- Ben Golliver | email@example.com | Twitter