Despite averaging a career high in points (13.9), rebounds (4.6), blocks (1.0), and steals (1.0) last season, Nicolas Batum has expressed his desire to leave the Trail Blazers. He and his agent, Bouna N'Diaye, met with Portland GM Neil Olshey, scouting director Chad Buchanan, and capologist Joe Cronin on Thursday in an attempt to persuade the team not to match the Timberwolves' offer sheet, writes Chris Haynes of CNNSW.
Batum spontaneously arranged the in-person request with Trail Blazers brass out of fear that they would not grant a meeting in advance knowing what he would ask for. The 23-year-old forward, who shot 45.1% from the field and 39.1% from three-point range this year, was sold after meeting with Rick Adelman and is said to be enamored with the opportunity of playing along side Kevin Love and Ricky Rubio. N'Diaye elaborated on the situation with CNNSW:
“His mind is not there in Portland. Out of that meeting with the Blazers (on Thursday), we hoped they would allow him to live his dream. The best case scenario is a sign-and-trade and we understand that. Hopefully, Paul Allen would never stand in the way of his dream to play for the Timberwolves."
N'Diaye also spoke about how the meeting went and what went wrong during Batum's tenure in Portland:
“(The meeting) was nice and cordial. We started the meeting talking about his four years there… Nic expressed to them that after his first year, (Nate) McMillan said he was surprised that Nic had an offensive game. The second year was great. After Andre (Miller) left, it was really tough for him in year three. He wasn't able to get up and down and his role was staying in corner. He wasn't allowed to play his game. Being a Bruce Bowen in-the-corner player frustrated him. He wants to be him. He wants to play his game."
With the at-times tumultuous nature of Portland's locker room last season, Neil Olshey could consider entering exploratory sign-and-trade talks soon in order to avoid brewing any unhappiness in the locker room next year.