Minnesota isn’t only thinking of bringing in big players such as Pau Gasol into the Timberwolves roster via trade or trying to find out who to resign or not to resign among their own team during the first BIG hours of free agency. They have also been looking at role players outside of themselves that can help their team next season. And boy, can these three guys they are looking at help them next season.
The Timberwolves, however, aren’t looking that far for role players to help Kevin Love and Ricky Rubio, they’re focused on one NBA team. The Portland Trail Blazers. Two Blazers in former 6th Man of the Year recipient Jamal Crawford and developing forward Nicolas Batum. The Timberwolves are also looking deeper and are trying to acquire the man that left the city of Portland in sadness. No it’s not Greg Oden, who basically played only 1 season in the NBA since he was drafted in 2007, but it’s the retired Brandon Roy who has plans on returning to the NBA.
Roy has averaged 19.0 points, 4.7 assists, and 4.3 rebounds per game in his 5 short years with Portland. When Roy was healthy, he averaged 26.7 points per game in the 2009 NBA Playoffs where the Blazers got eliminated in the first round. Roy was the Rookie of the Year among his draft class and and is a 3-time NBA All Star from 2008 to 2010. I can’t safely say that Roy will either be a success or bust with the Timberwolves mainly because we haven’t seen him play on an NBA court for 1 whole season already. However, in my honest opinion I believe that in any team Roy will play with this coming season, hopefully with the Wolves, he’ll make a positive impact. His leadership abilities as a guard and his determination is unreal as proven in one of his last games with the Blazers in last post season (2011) in Game 4 against the Dallas Mavericks.
Batum, born in Lisieux, France and a member of the French National Team that won silver in the 2011 FIBA European Championship Games, has played 4 seasons so far in the NBA. Batum has consistently increased his numbers after every season and averaged career highs in points and rebounds per games with 13.9 points and 4.6 rebounds. The 6 foot 8 forward has been placed in the starting lineup for the Blazers ever since forward Gerald Wallace was traded to New Jersey and Batum has shined bright as a starter for the Blazers. His size and his versatility will bring something new to the Timberwolves. The Wolves as of now, don’t have anyone on their roster that is as versatile as Batum. Batum can shoot, attack, and even take control of the ball. Defensively, however, is where his versatility is at it’s best. With his length and quickness, Batum can defend smaller plays from guards to even players at his own position. Batum is also fearless which makes him a great shot blocker against bigger players. Batum is not best at one thing, but he is solid in almost every aspect every NBA player should have.
Crawford, became famous around the NBA since his playing days with Joe Johnson and the Atlanta Hawks. Last season, the former 6th Man of the Year averaged 13.9 points and 3.2 assists coming off the bench for the Blazers. Crawford is well known for his 4-point plays and his clutch shooting as a Hawk and his scoring ability will definitely be useful for the Timberwolves, who desperately need scorers on their roster. The Wolves need bench players as well and Crawford has solely proven that he is one of the best at producing instant offense of the bench and changing the flow of the game that would benefit the team he is playing with. Clutch shooting as well is something the Wolves lack outside of Kevin Love. This past season the Wolves relied heavily on Love to take the big shots and with Love being outside, there is no one inside that can give the Wolves a second chance shot opportunity. Crawford will be that second or even go-to-guy for the Timberwolves in the clutch if they are able to acquiring him.
The Timberwolves have been reported to offer Batum a $50 million cotract for four years. There will, however, be no contract signing until the league’s moratorium on trades and signings ends next Wednesday. The Trail Blazers would then have 3 days to be able to try and match Minnesota’s offer to the 23-year old forward.
Batum has been scheduled to travel to the now-hot Minneapolis to meet up with David Kahn, the Timberwolves’ President of Basketball Operations, team owner Glen Taylor, and of course Timberwolves head coach, Rick Adelman. Kahn, Taylor, and Adelman also been reported to have traveled to Seattle, Washington to meet up with Brandon Roy.
The former 6th Man of the Year stated in an interview on the Wolves’ interests in him, ” If they have interest in me, then I have interestin them.”
And now … we wait … will Blazermania arrive? If it does, sorry Portland …