Timberwolves Move On From Batum

The Minnesota Timberwolves made the shooting guard position a top priority this offseason. But the guy they wanted most of all won’t be going anywhere.

The Portland Trail Blazers matched the four-year, $45 million offer sheet given to Nicolas Batum by the Minnesota Timberwolves, which will keep the 23-year-old Frenchman in the Pacific Northwest.

The Wolves can take some consolation in the fact that they were able to get a conference foe to spend lots of money. But at the same time, Wednesday’s news was no doubt disappointing for the club.

Many experts agreed that Batum’s style of play would have been a great fit for head coach Rick Adelman‘s system in Minnesota. Batum averaged 14 points per game last season, and he has shown the ability to use his 6-foot-8 frame on defense to give the opponent fits.

As the Batum saga has drawn out, the free-agent pool for shooting guards has thinned. Courtney Lee is among the better shooting guards available, having scored 11 points per game and made 40 percent of his 3-point attempts last season for Houston.

With Kevin Love and Ricky Rubio (who is rehabbing from injury), the Wolves have two key building blocks going forward. But I still think they need one more significant piece. Could they go out and trade for Philadelphia guard Andre Iguodala and his massive contract? And would Iguodala be that piece?

1 Response

  1. Craig Johnson

    In retrospect, I think not getting Batum may be a better for the team long term. Their offer was huge (12 mill per year) and probably would have prevented them from matching what other teams may throw at Pekovic next year. With regard to Iguodola, he’s got two years left on a 30 million dollar contract with a player opt out clause at the end of next year, that’s a lot of money and commitment tied into one person who could leave after only one season. Seems like they could/should turn their attention to signing a small forward such as Lee, a backup center and improving the overall quality of their bench players starting with Derick Williams and Wes Johnson, if that’s even possible after the years both had in 2011-12.

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