Blazers match Timberwolves' offer for Batum
By Sports Network
PORTLAND - The Portland Trail Blazers matched the offer sheet the Minnesota Timberwolves made to restricted free agent Nicolas Batum, meaning the forward will return to the only NBA team he has ever played for.
The Blazers matched the offer, reported to be for more than $45 million over four years, hours before the Wednesday night deadline.
Batum, who is competing in the Olympics for France, flew back to Portland on Wednesday.
The Timberwolves had signed Batum to the offer sheet Sunday. President of basketball operations David Kahn said in a statement the team was disappointed it didn't land him.
"However, we were prepared for the possibility of this outcome and will move forward with our other plans," said Kahn. "We are positioned well from a salary cap standpoint and will continue to explore additional roster moves. We are confident that we will make the necessary transactions to improve our team for the coming season and beyond."
Batum averaged 13.9 points and 4.6 rebounds -- both career highs -- in 59 games last season, his fourth in the league.