The Minnesota Timberwolves have already made some moves this offseason, and it seems like they are not quite done.
The team is trying desperately to sign Portland swingman Nicolas Batum away from the Blazers. Being a restricted free agent, the Blazers have the right to match any offer for the Frenchman. Portland general manager Neil Olshey has been adamant about getting value for Batum, and insists the team will match any offer made to Batum.
The Wolves need a shooting guard in the worst way, and it sounds like they are willing to over pay for potential.
Batum has been in the league six years already, but really started gaining notoriety towards the end of the lockout-shortened season. He had some games where he showed flashes of elite-level scoring but has not been consistent.
He averages just 10 points per game over his career, and that number drops to six in three trips to the postseason.
Timberwolves general manager David Kahn seems to think Batum is the answer for this team. “He very much is kind of a missing piece,” Kahn said. “We’re very hopeful that we can have him. But we understand what restricted free agency is.”
One of the Wolves' biggest weakness is on the defensive end. Batum is long and a pretty solid defender. He was Portland's best defensive player last season and could help the Wolves shut down opposing teams' best players.
The Blazers, however, are not just going to let this guy leave. ''I don't believe in letting talent walk out the door,'' Olshey said.
I know Kahn thinks Batum is going to make this team a playoff contender, and he may be right, but I would hate to see this franchise over pay yet again for a possibility.
Batum is a decent player, but he has accomplished nothing in the NBA so far. I think for what he is, the reported deal of about $50 million is a bit much. If he does not work out, you are crippling your chances of surrounding Kevin Love and Ricky Rubio with more talent in the future.
With Love under contract for the next four seasons, the Wolves' window to keep him long-term is short. They need to win, and they need to win now.
I have not agreed with Kahn on several key decisions since he has taken over as GM, and this possible signing is pretty high on that list.
I doubt the Blazers will allow Batum to play in Minnesota as he has requested, but that doesn't mean the Wolves won't try.