Several outlets are reporting Trail Blazers combo forward Nicolas Batum will meet with the Timberwolves as Minnesota continues to be extremely active early on in free agency. Batum could be a huge get for the Minnesota Timberwolves in free agency.
Ricky Rubio, Kevin Love and Batum could form a young nucleus that has the potential to be lethal.
Love is already an All Star, and one of the best power forwards in the NBA. If Rubio returns to form, his ceiling is limitless as a lead guard as well.
For the last few years, Portland has been waiting for Batum to take that next step. He still could, but with Roy Hibbert’s max contract offer being discussed, there may not be enough dollars available in Portland for Nic to take that step in the Pacific Northwest.
Minnesota’s interest in the young small forward who averaged 14 points and five assists in 59 games last season could ultimately decide that as well.
Dwight Jaynes from CSNNW.com: Restricted free-agent Trail Blazer forward Nic Batum is flying from Paris to Minneapolis tonight and will meet with Timberwolves officials about a proposed offer sheet.
The decision by Batum to take the visit — and it is believed that Minnesota is one of his top choices — is believed to signal he’s serious about signing with the Timberwolves and thus Portland’s planned offer sheet to Indiana unrestricted free agent Roy Hibbert is in peril, to some degree.
Batum cannot sign the offer sheet until July 11 but by merely agreeing to it on that date, his cap hold — now about $5.4 million — would increase and thereby endanger Portland’s ability to make a max-contract offer to Hibbert. When Batum, or any restricted free agent, signs an offer sheet, the cap hold with his original team immediately becomes the figure that he’s signed for on the new offer sheet.
With reports the Timberwolves will not sign Michael Beasley, it appears their interest in additional frontline help could also involve Greg Stiemsma.
Stiemsma was a force defensively last season in Boston coming off the bench, averaging 1.5 blocks during 13.9 minutes per game of work. He could help bolster a Timberwolves frontline that did not do much defensively at all last year.
According to a report, the Celtics are still tops on his list to re-sign with next season, but the Timberwolves are making a play for the big man as well.
Sherrod Blakely, Celtics Talk: Greg Stiemsma will spend today being wined and dined by the Minnesota Timberwolves. And in the coming days, there will be more teams showing the Boston Celtics restricted free agent some love.
However, his agent tells CSNNE.com that a return to Boston is still Stiemsma’s preference.
“He’s going to listen to Minnesota and he’ll probably visit with a few more teams, too,” Naiditch said. “But Boston is where he wants to be. At the same time, he has to make sure he knows what all opportunities are out there for him. But what he wants when all is said and done, is to keep playing for the Boston Celtics.”
The C’s made him a qualifying offer of $1.05 million last week, making him a restricted free agent. So if another team offers Stiemsma a contract, the C’s will have an opportunity to match it and retain his services.
I don’t remember the Minnesota Timberwolves being this active in recent years. With the pieces they have right now in Rubio and Love, it is good to see that they are.
It is also surprising to an extent that David Kahn is interested in making what would seem to be solid moves in free agency. Depending on how much they would eventual offer either players, both Batum and Steimsma would be solid additions to the roster. Assuming Minnesota can get it done, Batum could even be a star.