Batum’s offer sheet official; the wrangling proceeds

Benjamin Polk —  July 16, 2012 — 12 Comments

After much anticipation, it’s now official. The Wolves have submitted an offer sheet for Nicolas Batum, a four year deal worth $46.5 million, giving the Blazers three days to either match the deal or allow Batum to leave. The move caps off a week that featured much wrangling and even more ill-feeling between the two teams. Portland has vowed to match any offer that Batum receives–though, according to Ric Bucher, they don’t believe that he is worth what the Wolves are offering–and they have stonewalled any attempts at a sign-and-trade, despite the Wolves’ rather generous offers.

According to both Jerry Zgoda at the Strib and Bucher at ESPN, the mutual stink-eye has many antecedents: the Wolves’ attempt to poach then-assistant GM Tom Penn away from the Blazers, which attempt, it turns out, was merely a play by Penn and Kevin Pritchard for more of Paul Allen’s money; the Wolves’ (rather lame) accusation that Portland concealed Martell Webster’s back injury before trading him to Minnesota two years ago; the Wolves’ signing of Brandon Roy, which will (via byzantine salary cap bylaws that I’m not going to explain) cost the Blazers $17 million.

Since some of these events occurred before David Kahn’s tenure as the Wolves’ VP of Basketball Ops, and since Allen is known to have a vindictive streak, Kahn can’t entirely be blamed for the Blazers’ unwillingness to be flexible. On the other hand, I’d refer you now to Kahn’s reputation for abrasiveness and high-handedness when dealing with other GM’s, the feeling that other teams’ front offices do not exactly relish dealing with the Wolves. One wonders if a savvier GM, one more skilled at the social nuances of negotiation, might not have gotten a deal done.

Benjamin Polk

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12 responses to Batum’s offer sheet official; the wrangling proceeds

  1. I’d love to see Batum on the Wolves, and I hope it works out – but I’ve gotta figure the Blazers will match. Otherwise, wouldn’t they have taken a couple of our picks in a trade when they had the chance?

  2. Benjamin Polk July 16, 2012 at 3:26 pm

    Oh yeah, it definitely seems like they’re going to match.

  3. Good write up Ben. Even though Portland’s matching, I’m happy that we are screwing a division rival by forcing them to eat an extra $5M/yr in cap space. Plus we have other guys we are expected to add that can shore up our perimeter play without killing our flexibility (Shved, Lee, Roy). The drama of stringing Portland along by delaying the offer sheet just adds to the tension. Also apparently we are still trying to screw Portland over with the Webster thing, and Roy signing will cost Paul Allen $17M in salary that is no longer covered by insurance? Take that, Blazers.

    Kahn isn’t going to become Albert Einstein any time soon, so I wouldn’t mind if he turned into Doctor Evil. Might be the next best/most entertaining option. Next time you see a Wolves personnel move make headlines, try picturing Kahn stroking a white cat. It’s kind of funny.

  4. I disagree with his Rubio Article the team was Vastly improved while he was on the court if you wouldve looked at the teams win Percentage..Use to Love his Articles but that one just tainted all them to me. Dont get how a wolves fan could even say that?? MIND BOGGLING

  5. Either way if minnesota gets him or not, its a good deal for the timberwolves cuz that would save a huge amount of money, if we don’t get him then we could sign ronnie brewer and a quality big instead, but if we do get batum then we turn into a championship team… yea suck it blazer fans!!! you are getting screwed!!!

  6. I think Batum would be a great asset to the team, but not at 12 mill a year. That is superstar money, and he aint no superstar. I like the Roy signing and loved the Budinger trade. I think the Wolves did a good job dumping some lose cannons but I am hopeful they resign Tolliver. Things are looking great for the Wolves and I know this is a stretch but I think they have alot to offer for Howard. Wolves should be talking to Orlando.

  7. Benjamin Polk July 16, 2012 at 7:31 pm

    I would argue that 12 million isn’t really superstar money–that’s more the 16-20 million range. Actually Zach argues pretty convincingly that, judging by other players with roughly his production, 12 mill is more or less the right amount.

  8. They’re paying for potential Batum has proved he can play and hes only 23. He is capable of being a 15-20ppg guy and has the size/athleticism to be a good defender. 12m a year sucks, but you gotta spend it somewhere.

  9. Agree 100% with Mark.. A team needs 3 A-/B+ players, at least, to even consider a deep playoff run. Preferably one of those players is an A+, which I think we have in Love..

    So…

    A young, capable and lengthy player like Batum is exactly what the Wolves should be looking to acquire right now. In NBA terms, the money isn’t ridiculous and the move is a well played risk regardless, because it put Portland in a tough spot. For once, I think the Wolves played their hand perfect. Respect to the KahnMan!

  10. Who do we sign if Batum is forced to remain in Portland? Im assuming we are scouting other FA’s that can play the 2 or 3…………

  11. I know I’m in the minority but I think David Kahn is one of the better GM’s in the league. To me he was a breath of fresh air and gets an A for his efforts. He cleaned house with a roster of terrible overpaid contracts to create some cap room, drafted a PG that only worked out for the Kings (and kept after it until it was through) and made some sound interchangeable contracts. Taking a chance on Michael Beasley for 2 throwaway picks was great…it just didn’t pan out. Did he piss off their best player last year? In a word, yes, but that player also doesn’t have much of a filter from his brain to his mouth (or his Twitter fingers) so any GM would have the same “issues” with him. Darko at least seemed like he might be a legit 5 but got all depressed yet again and sulked his way out of a job. $5 Million per wasn’t a bad contract for a big with potential. I’m actually happy Kahn is sticking it to the Blazers (a division rival). If he were the “nice” guy and did something stupid like give up a franchise player for 5 players on one of the worst teams in the Eastern Conference (when the East was CLEARLY the inferior conference) the constant bashing would be justified…but that was left to a different/inferior GM. Maybe he says some stupid stuff once in a while (i.e. the “manna” comment for Darko) but imo he is prolly the 10th or so best GM out there. We could do far worse (and yes Bill Simmons, as great as a columnist he is, would have been worse)

  12. Batum for 12-mil is pretty good. When you compare him to Iggy or Deng then he is worth it. As good a defender and shoots the 3 way better. Has great size and can run the floor. That’s what those 2 are making. That is where wolves fans expectations should be. But I’m sure Portland will match and then he will never get to play here. Our best hope is that Derrik williams and Wes Johnson grow up and learn how to play in the NBA over this summer. Or Kevin Love convince one of his Olympic buddy’s that it’s not really that cold here in the winter.

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