Wolves stuck in staredown over Batum

  • Article by: JERRY ZGODA , Star Tribune
  • Updated: July 13, 2012 - 7:34 AM

After the team waived Darko Milicic, it waited for movement on its situation with the Blazers over Nicolas Batum, but none occurred.


Portland Trail Blazers' Nicolas Batum (88) passes the ball as Memphis Grizzlies' Zach Randolph (50) looks on In the second half during an NBA basketball game Thursday, March 22, 2012, in Portland, Ore. The Trail Blazers defeated the Grizzlies97-93.

Photo: Rick Bowmer, Associated Press

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

The Timberwolves on Thursday said farewell to failed experiment Darko Milicic, waiving him to clear the way for a promised rich offer sheet to Portland restricted free agent Nicolas Batum that never arrived by nightfall.

Wolves owner Glen Taylor said Thursday afternoon that his team would "call their bluff" and sign Batum to a four-year, $46.5 million offer sheet if the Trail Blazers didn't agree to a sign-and-trade arrangement by the end of business that day.

Thursday evening came and went with neither a trade completed, nor an offer sheet delivered to the Blazers while Wolves management worked into the night, either to exhaust trade options with Portland or to clear more salary-cap space.

Or both.

Taylor said the Wolves are willing to give Portland draft picks and perhaps a player, but not 2011 No. 2 overall pick Derrick Williams, if the Blazers agree they won't match the offer and pay the 23-year-old swingman nearly $12 million a year. Comcast SportsNet in Portland reported the offer sheet includes a 15 percent trade "kicker" that would cost the Blazers more money to trade Batum if they ever wanted.

If that offer sheet is ever really signed by Batum and delivered to Portland, the Blazers will have three days to match the offer.

Blazers GM Neil Olshey on Wednesday said he wasn't interested in what the Wolves were offering, but he could be holding out for a player such as Williams or Nikola Pekovic.

Once the sheet is signed, any chance for a trade arrangement between the teams is gone.

The Wolves started to clear that kind of big money from their salary cap by releasing Milicic. They used a one-time "amnesty" clause given every team in last November's new labor agreement to pay Milicic the rest of his two-year contract without that $7 million being applied to their salary-cap numbers.

By doing so, the Wolves ended their two-plus season experiment with the now infamous second pick in a loaded 2003 draft, a guy whom President of Basketball Operations David Kahn called "manna from heaven" when he signed a four-year contract in July 2010. Kahn coined that phrase during a memorable NBA TV interview with Chris Webber during a Las Vegas Summer League game just after the Wolves signed Milicic to a deal guaranteeing him at least $16 million.

Milicic will become a free agent if no NBA teams bid for him in a 48-hour waiver process.

Agent Marc Cornstein said Thursday's release "didn't come out of left field" to a player who fell out of disfavor with Wolves coach Rick Adelman midway through last season's truncated 66-game schedule, adding that Milicic hopes to play in the NBA again. If he does, it will be his sixth team in 10 NBA seasons, all at the age of 27.

Besides releasing Milicic, the Wolves also are expected to buy Brad Miller and Martell Webster out of the final years of their contracts to free additional cap space.

If the Wolves fail to upgrade at small forward by adding Batum, they could turn their search for a wing player to unrestricted free agents Courtney Lee or O.J. Mayo or try to trade for Philadelphia swingman and U.S. Olympian Andre Iguodala, who might be available because he is due $30 million for the next two seasons.

Lee played for Wolves coach Rick Adelman and Iguodala would give them a veteran leader and perimeter defender they clearly lack.

But Taylor suggested the team might instead turn their attention to other positions.

"We need big guys," he said.

The Wolves have put their pursuit of Boston restricted free agent Greg Stiemsma and Los Angeles Lakers unrestricted free agent Jordan Hill on hold while their pursuit of Batum continues on and on, and on.

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions


Buffalo 12/28/14 12:00 PM
New England
Cleveland 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Dallas 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Indianapolis 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Jacksonville 12/28/14 12:00 PM
San Diego 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Kansas City
NY Jets 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Chicago 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Philadelphia 12/28/14 12:00 PM
NY Giants
New Orleans 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Tampa Bay
Carolina 12/28/14 3:25 PM
Detroit 12/28/14 3:25 PM
Green Bay
Oakland 12/28/14 3:25 PM
Arizona 12/28/14 3:25 PM
San Francisco
St. Louis 12/28/14 3:25 PM
Cincinnati 12/28/14 7:30 PM
Washington 102 FINAL
New York 91
Oklahoma City 114 FINAL
San Antonio 106
Cleveland 91 FINAL
Miami 101
LA Lakers 91 4th Qtr 0:16
Chicago 113
Golden State 9:30 PM
LA Clippers
DePaul 69 FINAL
Loyola Marymount 72
Ohio 58 FINAL
Nebraska 71
Colorado 66 FINAL
Hawaii 69
George Washington 37 2nd Half 9:45
Wichita State 45
Central Mich 48 FINAL
Western Ky 49
Fresno State 6 FINAL
Rice 30
Illinois 12/26/14 12:00 PM
Louisiana Tech
Rutgers 12/26/14 3:30 PM
North Carolina
NC State 12/26/14 7:00 PM
Cincinnati 12/27/14 12:00 PM
Virginia Tech
Duke 12/27/14 1:10 PM
(15) Arizona State
Miami-Florida 12/27/14 2:30 PM
So Carolina
Boston College 12/27/14 3:30 PM
Penn State
(25) Nebraska 12/27/14 7:00 PM
(24) USC
Texas A&M 12/29/14 1:00 PM
West Virginia
Oklahoma 12/29/14 4:30 PM
(18) Clemson
Arkansas 12/29/14 8:00 PM
Notre Dame 12/30/14 2:00 PM
(22) LSU
(13) Georgia 12/30/14 5:45 PM
(20) Louisville
Maryland 12/30/14 9:00 PM
(9) Ole Miss 12/31/14 11:30 AM
(6) TCU
(21) Boise State 12/31/14 3:00 PM
(12) Arizona
(8) Miss State 12/31/14 7:00 PM
(10) Georgia Tech
(19) Auburn 1/1/15 11:00 AM
(17) Wisconsin
(7) Michigan State 1/1/15 11:30 AM
(4) Baylor
(16) Missouri 1/1/15 12:00 PM
(2) Florida State 1/1/15 4:00 PM
(3) Oregon
(5) Ohio State 1/1/15 7:30 PM
(1) Alabama
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters





question of the day

Poll: Who is your favorite pro sports coach in the Twin Cities?

Weekly Question