Timberwolves sign Batum to offer sheet

MINNEAPOLIS — Just hours after Martell Webster cleared waivers at 4 p.m. on Sunday, the Minnesota Timberwolves signed restricted free agent Nicolas Batum to an offer sheet.

The Timberwolves would not confirm the terms of the offer sheet, but multiple reports have cited it as a four-year, $46.5 million deal. The Portland Trail Blazers received the signed offer sheet on Sunday evening, and they have until 10:59 p.m. CT on Wednesday to match Minnesota’s offer, thereby claiming Batum.

Although the Timberwolves were prepared to present the offer sheet on Friday after they’d cleared sufficient salary cap space by waiving Darko Milicic and Martell Webster and trading Brad Miller, the team was forced to wait 48 hours until Webster cleared waivers. In that 48 hours, the team hoped to continue exploring options for a sign-and-trade deal to acquire Batum, Timberwolves president of basketball operations David Kahn said on Friday. The signed offer sheet proves that those negotiations failed.

The Timberwolves have been pursing the small forward for more than a week, and from the onset, Portland was clear that it would match any offer the team presented to Batum. Despite that, Kahn said Friday that the team feels that it has an obligation to Batum and therefore would present the offer sheet regardless.

The Trail Blazers would not comment on the offer sheet, other than that they’d received it, and they will continue to reserve comment until they reach a final decision. That process could stretch as long as Wednesday even if Portland has already made up its mind to keep Batum, as all previous reports indicate.

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