NBA Free Agency 2012: Raptors Trying to Sign SF Nicolas Batum?

Brad LeClair@beerad87Correspondent IJuly 1, 2012

DENVER - DECEMBER 28:  Nicolas Batum #88 of the Portland Trail Blazers awaits a free throw against the Denver Nuggets at Pepsi Center on December 28, 2010 in Denver, Colorado. The Nuggets defeated the Blazers 95-77. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

According to Chris Haynes of, the Toronto Raptors are among the teams looking into signing small forward Nicolas Batum of the Portland Trail Blazers.

The Raptors, who have already reportedly offered Steve Nash a three-year contract worth $36 million, appear set to try and lure a free-agent small forward to town. Top on their priority list appears to be the lanky French small forward Batum.

The 6'8", 200-pound forward enjoyed his best season yet as a pro, averaging 13.9 PPG, grabbing 4.6 RPG, averaging 1.0 BPG and 1.0 SPG, while averaging over 45 percent from the field, 39 percent from three and over 83 percent from the free-throw line.

Batum's ability to spread the floor and make open shots is what's really attracting the Raptors into trying to sign him. If Nash agrees to sign in Toronto, look for the Raptors to really be players for Batum if he hasn't already signed elsewhere.

The team pushing hardest for Batum appears to be the Minnesota Timberwolves, who have reportedly offered Batum a four-year deal worth upwards of $45 million to $50 million.

The Blazers still hold the ability to match any offer the restricted free agent Batum receives. Better yet for the Blazers, they have the ability to offer more term in the contract, as they can offer five years to Batum, and not four like the Wolves offered.

If the Raptors don't end up getting Batum, look for GM Bryan Colangelo to work the phone lines for either a trade or a big-name free agent signing as the Raptors look to get over the hump and back into playoff contention.