PORTLAND -- The Portland Trail Blazers have matched Minnesota's four-year offer sheet worth more than $45 million for swingman Nicolas Batum.
The Trail Blazers announced the decision on Wednesday, a few hours before the deadline. It brings to an end a long and occasionally bitter negotiation between the Blazers and Timberwolves.
The Frenchman was on a flight Wednesday morning from Amsterdam. Before his departure he tweeted "@amsterdam gotta hurry to get the 10.20 am flight to PDX Oregon."
Upon arriving at PDX, he told KGW that he was happy to be back in Portland, and with the Blazers, but made no specific mention of signing a new contract. He said he was in Portland to take a physical.
Minnesota agreed to terms with Batum on a deal that could be worth more than $50 million with bonuses on July 6. Batum and his agent then said they wanted Portland to negotiate a sign-and-trade or not match the offer.
But Blazers GM Neil Olshey said they would match any offer. The Wolves filed the offer sheet on Sunday and Batum flew to Portland on Wednesday for a physical before the deal was matched.
Catch&Shoot.com said that Batum was returning to Portland to take a requisite physical. He will sign with Portland despite efforts by Minnesota to work some kind of sign-and-trade deal.
He left the French national team in Strasbourg to return to Portland to complete the deal, the site said.