The Portland Trail Blazers today announced they have matched the $46.5 million offer sheet the Wolves gave restricted free agent Nicolas Batum on Sunday.
Batum landed from France at the Portland airport earlier this afternoon and told reporters he'll undergo a physical examination on Thursday and meet with the local media on Friday.
And yes, he said he always expected to be back with the Blazers.
And he will be.
The Wolves now will move on, looking to sign some combination of free agents Courtney Lee, Greg Stiemsma, Jordan Hill, Ronnie Brewer, Carl Landry or others with the $14 million plus they cleared to extend Batum that huge offer sheet.
While they danced with Batum all this time, they missed out on a chance to make an amnesty waiver claim on Houston's Luis Scola, who ended up claimed by Phoenix, and O.J. Mayo, who they pursued some but in whom they didn't express a whole lot of interest.
And it'll be interesting to see if they try to claim Orono's own Jon Leuer off waivers.
Houston waived the former Wisconsin power forward and Jerome Jordan today to clear room to make Omer Asik an offer sheet.
Leuer was impressive against the Wolves in two games last December, the start of his rookie season with the Bucks but now has been traded by the Bucks and cut by the Rockets since then.
Blazers GM Neil Olshey met with reporters in Las Vegas at the summer league this afternoon and said the Blazers never were going to let Batum go.
He also said the NBA disallowed some of the bonuses the Wolves put in the offer sheet, changes he said made the offer a little easer to swallow.