The future of Nicolas Batum remains uncertain, with the NBA's moratorium on free agent signings set to be lifted at 12:01 a.m. ET on Wednesday, July 11.
What we know is that the Minnesota Timberwolves want him, as they plan to offer the small forward a four year, $45 million deal as soon as they officially can. Batum, a restricted free agent, is set to accept it, giving the Blazers a chance to match. Portland has long considered him an important part of their core and has publicly stated its intention to match, but reports have indicated that Batum would prefer to join the Timberwolves.
Asked about the situation on Monday, new Blazers general manager Neil Olshey danced around Batum's intentions, via Jason Quick of The Oregonian:
Olshey asked: "Has Nic expressed to you that he doesn’t want to come back here?" Olshey answer: "Why wouldn't Nic want to come back here?''— Jason Quick (@jwquick) July 9, 2012
This isn't exactly a denial of Batum's wish to be elsewhere, but Olshey doesn't seem too bothered by it. This makes sense, as the right to match the deal gives Portland all the power here.
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