Nicolas Batum will become a restricted free agent at season's end, and it's not clear yet how the Trail Blazers will value him, since the team could have a new general manager in place in a matter of weeks. However, one team that figures to make a "hard push" for Batum is the Spurs, according to Chris Haynes of CSNNW.com.
When Batum entered the league in 2008, he expected to be drafted by the Spurs and was "confused" when he was selected by the Rockets, who traded him to Portland. Batum is close friends and international teammates with Tony Parker and would love to play in Gregg Popovich's system, says Haynes.
Since Batum will be a restricted free agent, the Blazers will have the option of matching any offer sheet the 23-year-old signs. Team president Larry Miller has said the plan is to retain Batum, as long as another club doesn't make him a "crazy" offer. While we don't know how high Portland would be willing to go to keep its starting small forward, the team will have plenty of cap space this summer. Haynes hears from league executives that Batum could command as much as $10-11MM per season.
Chuck Myron of Hoops Rumors examined Batum's free agent stock last night.