The Trail Blazers have extended a qualifying offer to forward Nicolas Batum, tweets Ben Golliver of Blazer's Edge. Batum will become a restricted free agent on July 1, but because of the qualifying offer, Portland will have the right of first refusal if another team attempts to sign the Frenchman. The qualifying offer comes in at approximately $4.4MM, but merely serves as a placeholder until the team reaches a deal with Batum on an extension or another team extends an offer sheet, at which time Portland would determine whether or not to match the deal.
Batum has made it known that he expects to remain in Portland as he stated in April that there was a 99% chance that the Trail Blazers would match any offer presented to him this summer. In his Free Agent Stock Watch piece on Batum, Hoops Rumors' Chuck Myron wrote that at 23 years old with a 7'1" wingspan, the 6'8" Batum possesses a tantalizing combination of the athleticism to guard multiple positions with an outside shooting touch, having hit 37.2% of his career three-pointers, including 39.1% this year. Look for the Trail Blazers to retain Batum if his annual salary stays below $10MM per year. —–