It was a busy day for the Blazers, who officially welcomed Nicolas Batum back after matching his offer sheet from the Timberwolves. They also were involved in a three-team trade, picking up Sasha Pavlovic, the cash to cover his salary, and two second-round picks in exchange for 2011 second-round pick Jon Diebler. There's also encouraging news from LaMarcus Aldridge, who says he's "98 percent" healed from hip surgery and expects to be playing five-on-five again in a week, tweets Joe Freeman of The Oregonian. There's plenty more going on in the Rose City, and we've got it here:
- Batum addressed some of the comments he and others made during his contentious restricted free agency. In a video on CSNNW.com and transcribed by Ray Richardson of the St. Paul Pioneer Press, Batum said it was true that he wanted to go to Minnesota, but never ruled the Blazers out. "Minnesota was a good situation for me, but I never said it was better than Portland," he said. "I told Portland, 'If you really want me, match. If you don't want me, I'll go.'"
- Aldridge told reporters, including Chris B. Haynes of CSNNW.com, that he was communicating with Roy Hibbert throughout the Blazers' courtship of the restricted free agent center who ultimately chose to re-sign with the Pacers (Twitter links). "I was disappointed," Aldridge said of Hibbert's decision. "I definitely felt like he would put us over that hump of being on the next level."
- Aldridge said he hasn't been paying attention to the team's head coaching search, but reiterated his endorsement of interim coach Kaleb Canales, as Freeman notes, via Twitter.