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Trail Blazers free agent forward Nicolas Batum

Bret Hartman, Associated Press

Wolves' likely plans B, C and D?

  • Article by: JERRY ZGODA
  • Star Tribune
  • July 18, 2012 - 12:26 AM

Portland has until 10:59 p.m. Minneapolis time Wednesday to match the $46.5 million offer sheet the Wolves offered Nicolas Batum on Sunday. The only question that really remains is whether the Trail Blazers will take every minute to do so.

Once they do match -- unless all parties agree to rescind the offer sheet and still somehow strike a trade -- then what?

Here's where the Wolves likely will move next with the $14 million-plus in salary-cap space they have cleared by waiving Darko Milicic and Martell Webster and trading Brad Miller's contract.

Remember: The Wolves have already committed $5 million a year to former Blazers star guard Brandon Roy and as much as $3 million a year to Russian guard Alexey Shved.

COURTNEY LEE

Position: shooting guard-small forward

Height: 6-5 • Age: 26

College: Western Kentucky • Years in NBA: 4

Free-agent status: unrestricted

Last season: Averaged 11.5 points, 2.7 rebounds, 1.5 assists, 1.2 steals and 30.3 minutes with Houston in 58 games, and started 26 of those.

Expected cost: $6 million to $8 million a season

Skinny: The next-best wing option to Batum. Smart player, good defender. Rick Adelman loves him from their time together in Houston, and the feeling is mutual. The Wolves can't spend too much because they still need to add big men to this roster; an alternative plan could be unrestricted free agent Ronnie Brewer, who was last with Chicago.

JORDAN HILL

Position: power forward-center

Height: 6-10 • Age: 24

College: Arizona • Years in NBA: 3

Free-agent status: unrestricted

Last season: Averaged 5.0 ppg, 4.8 rpg and 14.1 minutes in 39 games with Houston and the Lakers.

Expected cost: $4 million to $5 million a season

Skinny: Former lottery-pick disappointment earned a new contract with strong playoff performance. Not your usual Adelman big man, but he's yet another connection to the Wolves coach from their Houston days. Complicating factors: Felony-assault charge filed after February incident with his girlfriend, and the Lakers want to re-sign him.

GREG STIEMSMA

Position: center

Height: 6-11 • Age: 26

College: Wisconsin

Years in NBA: 1

Free-agent status: restricted, Boston

Last season: Averaged 2.9 points, 3.2 rebounds, 1.6 blocks and 13.9 minutes in 55 games with the Celtics.

Estimated cost: $2.5 million to $3 million a season

Skinny: The payroll-stretched Celtics can only afford to pay Stiemsma the $2 million exception a year. The Wolves are willing to spend more for a center who would back up Nikola Pekovic now that the Darko Era is over.

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