The countdown officially began on Sunday night in Minnesota, as the Timberwolves signed restricted Nicolas Batum to an offer sheet and will now wait three full days for the Portland Trailblazers to match.
#Twolves sign restricted free agent F Nicolas Batum to offer sheet. Portland has 3 days to match; Deadline is Wed, July 18 at 11:59 p.m.— Timberwolves PR (@Twolves_PR) July 15, 2012
Though he has repeatedly made it public that he only wants to play in Minnesota next season, Portland's ownership of Batum's contract ultimately dictates his next move. With that said, it's entirely possible that the Blazers decide the headache associated with keeping a disgruntled Batum around might not be worth matching the offer sheet in the end.
With plenty of other free agent targets continuing to narrow down their choices during the three-day window, Minnesota will need to hope that viable backup plans like Courtney Lee and O.J. Mayo are still on the market if the Blazers decide to match the offer.