Brace Hemmelgarn-US PRESSWIRE
If the Trail Blazers are set up for a rivalry with any team in the NBA, it’s the Minnesota Timberwolves.
Stuck together in a brutal Northwest division, the two teams have become intertwined by Minnesota’s offseason pursuit of both Brandon Roy and Nicolas Batum. Roy landed with the team after coming out of retirement, while the Blazers ultimately matched the big-time offer that the Wolves sent Batum’s way.
Timberwolves All-Star forward Kevin Love, backup point guard Luke Ridnour and assistant coaches Bill Bayno and Terry Porter all have ties to the state of Oregon.
Minnesota will look relatively the same in 2013—unless, of course, Roy slows them down to a crawl the way he did in Portland—but the Blazers will look to play a much faster, more Minnesota-like style under new head coach Terry Stotts.
Neither of these teams are a lock for the playoffs, but both have a fighting chance to sneak in as a late seed.
The bad blood in this relationship is there, and with these two up-and-coming squads vying for a spot in the postseason, the stage for a great rivalry has already been set.