NBA Free Agency 2012: Minnesota Wise to Amnesty Milicic to Make Room for Batum

Ryan Phillips@@RumorsandRantsContributor IIIJuly 12, 2012

PHOENIX - DECEMBER 15:  Darko Milicic #31 of the Minnesota Timberwolves shoots a free throw shot against the Phoenix Suns during the NBA game at US Airways Center on December 15, 2010 in Phoenix, Arizona. The Suns defeated the Timberwolves 128-122. 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 Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Christian Petersen/Getty Images

ESPN's Ric Bucher is reporting that the Minnesota Timberwolves plan to amnesty Darko Milicic to make room under the salary cap to sign restricted free agent Nicolas Batum to an offer sheet. 

By cutting Milicic loose, the Timberwolves will wipe his two-year, $10 million contract ($7 million guaranteed) off their ledger. Bucher reports that Minnesota's offer to Batum is a four-year deal worth $45 million that could be pushed to $50 million with bonuses. 

Portland Trail Blazers general manager Neil Olshey has said the team would match any offer for Batum, which means he probably won't be landing in Minnesota. Still, getting rid of Milicic is a no-brainer for the Timberwolves.

Milicic has spent nearly three years on Minnesota's roster and never averaged more than 8.8 points or 5.6 rebounds per game. During the 2011-12 season, Milicic played in 29 games (23 starts) and averaged just 4.6 points, 3.3 rebounds and 16.3 minutes per game.

He's not even close to being worth his contract. 

While the Timberwolves may need to move on from Batum and look at other options, there is no reason to keep Milicic around anyway. Nikola Pekovic stepped up and established himself as a legitimate starting center, essentially stealing Milicic's job last season. He averaged 13.9 points and 7.4 rebounds in 47 games. 

With the team's frontcourt set in stone with Pekovic and Kevin Love set to own the paint in Minnesota for the near future, the Timberwolves need to find some help on the wings. Batum would have been a nice start, but it doesn't appear that he will be coming to town.

There are still some options out there and by dumping Milicic Minnesota will have the room to pursue them.