Nicolas Batum: Trail Blazers Must Trade French Forward to Timberwolves
Just take the candy from the baby already.
The Portland Trail Blazers blew their shot at a sweet Nicolas Batum sign-and-trade offer from the Minnesota Timberwolves this summer. When they’re able to trade him again in three months, they’d be clinically insane not to pull the trigger.
Is Batum worth over $11 million and more than 3 1st-round picks?
Dwight Jaynes of Comcast SportsNet reported that the Trail Blazers have three days to match the Timberwolves four-year, $46.4 million offer to Batum. While the French forward is a quality starter, first off, he isn’t worth over $11 million a year and secondly, he isn’t worth three-first round picks—which according to Jaynes, is what the T-Wolves offered the Blazers for his services.
Stars get paid $11 million, not role players. Batum is nothing but a role player.
According to 82games.com, last season 73 percent of his shot attempts were jumpers and 88 percent of them were assisted. While he’s a solid spot-up shooter and finisher, he can’t create his own shot. And with the departure of Jamal Crawford, rookies Damian Lillard and Will Barton will be the only perimeter players on the Trail Blazers roster next season capable of doing just that.
Portland pieced together an impressive draft with Lillard, Barton and Meyers Leonard, but they’re not a legitimate playoff contender just yet. By matching the Timberwolves offer and then dealing Batum in December, they’d be well on their way there.
Not only would such a deal net three first-round picks—assuming the offer is still on the table—but it’d free up $11 million in cap room that they could use on a more talented player than Batum, which they could definitely find. Jeremy Lin didn’t even receive an offer worth $10 million a year and he boasted a player efficiency rating of 19.97 this past season—a mark better than Paul Pierce, Ty Lawson, Chris Bosh, Danny Granger and Joe Johnson recorded.
Now, is it realistic to believe Neil Olshey would trade Batum in-season after refusing to deal him this summer? If Batum and the Blazers don’t impress—and considering that the only difference between this and last year’s squad that went 28-38 are rookies replacing Crawford and Raymond Felton, that’s a likely possibility—Olshey’s eyes would be opened to reality.
If he pulls the trigger, Portland’s future would be as bright as it was when it had a young Greg Oden and Brandon Roy.
David Daniels is a featured columnist at Bleacher Report and a syndicated writer.
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