The Portland Trail Blazers, Minnesota Timberwolves and Chicago Bulls are reportedly working on a trade that would ultimately land Nicolas Batum exactly where he wants to be – Minnesota.
Batum, 23, is a very coveted restricted free agent who averaged 14 points and five rebounds in 30 minutes per game last year. The Blazers have made it no secret that they have every intention of matching any offer sheet that he signs, so the Timberwolves -- who also really want him -- are trying to go a different route.
According to Ric Bucher of ESPN, Minnesota is in talks with Chicago and Portland regarding a three-team deal that could leave them with Batum, Portland with picks plus a veteran shooter, and Chicago with a second-round pick and cap relief. Via the report:
The Minnesota Timberwolves are attempting to acquire free-agent forward Nicolas Batum in a three-team trade with the Portland Trail Blazers and Chicago Bulls, a league source told ESPN The Magazine's Ric Bucher.
Portland would receive shooting guard Kyle Korver from Chicago and two future first-round draft picks from Minnesota, according to the source. The Bulls would acquire a second-round pick from the Timberwolves, the source said.
Again, the reason that Minnesota has to go this route is because it’s the only realistic way that Batum ends up there. If they simply have him sign an offer sheet (reports are circulating that they agreed to a $45 million one), then Portland will simply match.
On the other side of the equation – Chicago has made it clear that they want to move Korver, so this would fit perfectly into their plans. The second-round pick is completely meaningless; they’re just looking to drop dead weight this summer.
Stay tuned, this could be an interesting deal.