According to The Associated Press, the Portland Trail Blazers have matched the Minnesota Timberwolves' four-year, $45 million offer sheet for swingman Nicolas Batum, 23. General manager Neil Olshey announced on Wednesday that some of the incentives Minnesota offered were denied by the league, and Batum's deal would not exceed the expected $50 million.
Olshey made the announcement on Wednesday in Las Vegas, where the Blazers were participating in the NBA's summer league. He said that some of the incentives in Minnesota's offer sheet, which would have pushed the deal past $50 million, were denied by the league.
Olshey told reporters in Las Vegas where the Blazers are participating in the NBA Summer League, "The decision was made a long time ago. We were never not going to have Nicolas back. We did investigate certain things with Minnesota as a due diligence deal. We wanted to make sure we explored every option to improve our basketball team, but there was never a situation where there was a commensurate package offered back that was attractive enough to let Nicolas go."
On the subject of Batum staying in Portland, Timberwolves' general manager David Kahn said, "We are disappointed that Nicolas Batum will not be on our team and wish him the best in the future. However, we were prepared for the possibility of this outcome and will move forward with our other plans."
In another move on Wednesday, the Trail Blazers added veteran point guard, Ronnie Price, for a veteran's minimum salary. Price, 28, has played seven seasons between the Sacramento Kings, Utah Jazz, and Phoenix Suns. Price has averaged 3.6 points, 1.4 assists, and 1.1 rebounds per game throughout his career. He is expected to mentor rookie Damian Lillard and second-year point guard, Nolan Smith.
On the signing Olshey commented, "He's a totally different look than what Damian and Nolan bring to the table, and I think he'll really complement those guys [Lillard and Smith]." The addition of Price and the return of Batum puts the Blazers roster at 14 players. According to The Oregonian, Olshey expects to acquire one more player before camp begins in September.
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