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


Kansas City - J. Vargas 7:07 PM
San Francisco - R. Vogelsong
Detroit 10/26/14 8:30 AM
Buffalo 10/26/14 12:00 PM
NY Jets
St. Louis 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Kansas City
Houston 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Minnesota 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Tampa Bay
Seattle 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Baltimore 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Miami 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Chicago 10/26/14 12:00 PM
New England
Philadelphia 10/26/14 3:05 PM
Oakland 10/26/14 3:25 PM
Indianapolis 10/26/14 3:25 PM
Green Bay 10/26/14 7:30 PM
New Orleans
Washington 10/27/14 7:30 PM
New Orleans 10/30/14 7:25 PM
Buffalo 3:00 PM
San Jose
Boston 6:00 PM
NY Rangers 6:00 PM
New Jersey 6:00 PM
Dallas 6:00 PM
NY Islanders
Detroit 6:00 PM
Chicago 7:00 PM
St. Louis
Pittsburgh 7:00 PM
Tampa Bay 7:00 PM
Florida 8:00 PM
Washington 9:00 PM
Connecticut 21 FINAL
(18) East Carolina 31
Miami-Florida 30 FINAL
Virginia Tech 6
So Florida 17 FINAL
Cincinnati 34
Troy 13 FINAL
South Alabama 27
Boise State 55
(6) Oregon 59 FINAL
California 41
North Texas 21 3rd Qtr
Rice 14
UAB 0 3rd Qtr
Arkansas 35
Rutgers 7 3rd Qtr
(16) Nebraska 21
Maryland 0 3rd Qtr
Wisconsin 24
Texas 0 3rd Qtr
(11) Kansas State 13
Minnesota 3 3rd Qtr
Illinois 14
Memphis 31 3rd Qtr
North Carolina 14 2nd Qtr 6:02
Virginia 21
San Jose St 3 1st Qtr 1:15
Navy 0
Northern Ill 7 1st Qtr 2:23
Eastern Mich 7
(25) UCLA 1:00 PM
Akron 1:00 PM
Ball State
Massachusetts 1:00 PM
Ohio U 1:00 PM
Western Mich
Ga Southern 1:00 PM
Georgia State
Kent State 1:30 PM
Oregon State 2:30 PM
Fla Atlantic 2:30 PM
(23) Marshall
Louisiana Tech 2:30 PM
Southern Miss
(1) Miss State 2:30 PM
Georgia Tech 2:30 PM
(22) West Virginia 2:30 PM
Oklahoma State
Texas Tech 2:30 PM
(10) TCU
Michigan 2:30 PM
(8) Michigan State
Boston College 2:30 PM
Wake Forest
Central Mich 2:30 PM
Vanderbilt 3:00 PM
Old Dominion 3:00 PM
Western Ky
UNLV 3:00 PM
Utah State
Temple 4:00 PM
(15) Arizona 5:00 PM
Washington St
Texas-El Paso 6:00 PM
TX-San Antonio
Wyoming 6:00 PM
Colorado State
Syracuse 6:00 PM
(21) Clemson
Texas State 6:00 PM
(3) Ole Miss 6:15 PM
(24) LSU
(4) Alabama 6:30 PM
So Carolina 6:30 PM
(5) Auburn
(13) Ohio State 7:00 PM
Penn State
(20) USC 9:00 PM
(19) Utah
(14) Arizona State 9:45 PM
Nevada 10:59 PM
(2) Florida State 10/30/14 6:30 PM
Troy 10/30/14 6:30 PM
Ga Southern
Cincinnati 10/31/14 7:00 PM
Tulsa 10/31/14 7:00 PM
Purdue 11/1/14 2:00 AM
(16) Nebraska
(17) Oklahoma 11/1/14 2:00 AM
Iowa State
Oklahoma State 11/1/14 2:00 AM
(11) Kansas State
(10) TCU 11/1/14 2:00 AM
(22) West Virginia
Texas 11/1/14 2:00 AM
Texas Tech
Northwestern 11/1/14 2:00 AM
Maryland 11/1/14 2:00 AM
Penn State
Los Angeles 1:30 PM
D.C. 3:00 PM
Toronto FC 6:30 PM
New England
Portland 7:30 PM
FC Dallas
Colorado 9:00 PM
Vancouver FC
Montreal 23 FINAL
Ottawa 17
Saskatchewan 27 FINAL
Calgary 40
Hamilton 3:00 PM
Brt Columbia 6:00 PM
Hamilton 10/31/14 6:30 PM
Winnipeg 11/1/14 3:00 PM
Brt Columbia 11/1/14 6:00 PM
Toronto 11/2/14 11:00 AM
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters





question of the day

Poll: Which local team are you currently most excited about?

Weekly Question