Nicolas Batum will be in demand this summer — he is nearly an elite defender on the wing, averaged 13.9 points per game last season and plays within himself on offense, and he shot 39 percent from three. Name a team that couldn’t use a guy like that?
The Spurs and other teams are reportedly interested in the Frenchman and the Blazers can forget about a hometown discount, Batum’s agent told Chris Haynes at CSNNW.com.
According to the agent for Portland Trail Blazers forward, Nicolas Batum, they will not be holding off on deals to allow the Trail Blazers to sign a couple of free agents before the team tends to his client, who’s a restricted free agent.
“The first good offer we get, we’re going with that,” Bouna Ndiaye of Comsport Management told CSNNW.com. “We’re not waiting for anything.”
You can still sense the bad blood there with the agent over contract extension talks that fell apart. But that will melt away if the money is right for both sides.
Timing will be key here. The Blazers would like to chase a couple free agents this summer, sign them, then be able to sign Batum over and above that. The Blazers have Batum’s Bird rights so they can go over the cap to get him in a way they can’t for others.
But if Batum gets an offer early in the free agent process the Blazers will only have three days to match, and if they sign him there will be a lot less room for free agents.
It would be interesting to see what Batum will be offered this summer. My guess would be three or four years in the $8 million range, which the Blazers likely match. But if the contract is larger, front-loaded or offered early in the free agent process Portland has a decision on its hands.
Paul George‘s first experience starting as a power forward was going up against Anthony Davis — not just one of the best power forwards in the game, one of the handful of best players in the game period. That didn’t go well for George, and he wasn’t happy about it.
His second experience was in another preseason game Tuesday, going up against the Pistons and their four, Ersan İlyasova. He’s not quite as intimidating.
George scored 20 points on 7-of-8 shooting, 4-of-5 on threes — and that was just the first quarter (you can see it all in the video above).
As we have said before, George at the four is not a bad call by the Pacers, but some of that depends on the matchup. On the nights the Pacers face Davis or Blake Griffin or LaMarcus Aldridge or Zach Randolph (or a handful of others) the Pacers’ coaching staff is going to have to adjust. But there are a lot of nights where George at the four is going to force the other team to adjust, and that will play into the Pacers’ hands.
Last season, DeMarcus Cousins received zero MVP votes (the same as every year of his career). Even though he averaged 24.1 points, and 12.7 rebounds a game, which was enough to get him his first All-Star berth, MVP is another thing entirely. Only players on winning teams tend to draw the attention of MVP voters.
This season, can Cousins — arguably the best center in the game — get in the conversation?
He thinks it’s more than just that, he told Kevin Ding at Bleacher Report.
The topic is the 2015-16 NBA MVP award and whether it could be reachable for DeMarcus Cousins.
“Reachable, man?” Cousins told Bleacher Report, his voice rising high. “It’s mine to grab.”
As noted above, the only way Cousins gets into the conversation — fair or not — is if the Kings are in the playoffs (at the very least). He understands that.
“It’s going to take a full team effort,” Cousins said. “I’ll try to play at a high level and bring my team along with me.”
Vlade Divac built a Kings’ team designed to start winning now — as you would expect from a team a year away from moving into a new arena they need to fill. Owner Vivek Ranadive is not about selling hope anymore, he wants to sell wins.
I think Cousins can help provide that.
I’m less sold on the cast around him being able to help.