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NBA Free Agency 2012: Nicolas Batum Remains Hopeful He'll End Up In Minnesota

Although he remains a restricted free agent as the Portland Trailblazers own the final say on his destination, small forward Nicolas Batum continues to express his strong desire to play in a Minnesota Timberwolves uniform next season. The 23-year-old Batum made things as clear as possible to's David Aldridge on Tuesday:

"I know the situation. Anywhere I sign, the Blazers are going to match. But my first choice was, and is, Minnesota. That’s where I want to play and that’s where I want to put my family. I’ve got nothing against the fans (in Portland) and nothing against the city. But this is a basketball decision and basketball wise, I want to be there."

Batum is currently in Madrid with the French National team in preparation for an exhibition game on Tuesday against Spain, and fully believes that he is the small forward of the future for the T-Wolves. Considering the organization obviously feels the exact same way, Batum is anticipating that the two teams can work something out soon. "I know that they’re working on a sign and trade, and I’m very hopeful that both of them understand my situation, do the best both for me and for them," Batum said.

For more 2012 free agency coverage, stay with this StoryStream. For more on the T-Wolves, head over to Canis Hoopus. And for more NBA news and analysis this offseason, be sure to visit SB Nation's NBA hub.

Photographs by Micah Taylor, clairity, and Fibonacci Blue used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.