I agree with the Blazers not signing Nicolas Batum to a deal before the deadline. He has yet to bring his European scoring touch to the NBA. I’m not saying he is Sergio Rodriguez because Batum is a top notch NBA defender, but his offence is very John Starks-like. He can go 10 for 10 one night and then go 2 for 15 the next 4 nights. If Batum was more consistent with his offense in the NBA, I don’t think we would be talking about his contract right now. Batum simply has not played himself into a big payday with the Blazers.
People had high hopes for Batum this season as word got out that the Blazers were changing their offense from a half-court style to a new up-tempo style. I know every fantasy outlet quickly picked Batum to be their fantasy sleeper to have a breakout season. Nate McMillan didn’t see it that way. It became clear at the start of the season that Nate McMillan didn’t see Batum as starter in the NBA. That didn’t sit well with Batum. It’s not as if Nate is pulling a Kurt Rambis by not starting Batum, as he is not Kevin Love. Reports started to come out about Batum being down on himself, mad that he wasn’t starting as the cause to his slow start of the season. Now realty is setting in for Batum, who was lighting it up a few months ago in Europe with Tony Parker as his running mate during the lockout. Now you have an unhappy player who was already upset with not being named a starter. Add in a low ball offer on his contract extension, you get a recipe for a trade. The Blazers just hung up a “listening to all offers for Batum” sign on the temporary GM’s office door.
Let the rumors begin! I have a few options for the Blazers. One would be Eric Gordon. I’m sure Monty Williams would love to see Batum in a Hornets uniform this season, but I’m not sure Batum still has the buzz around him as he did last year at this time. Last year, every team was asking for Batum. Asking for Eric Gordon might be asking too much seeing he was just traded for Chris Paul. The other option I have in mind is a little crazy but would be interesting to see happen. This trade proposal is my homage to all the people who make bad fantasy league trade offers. You know, every fantasy league has that guy who overrates all his players. This is my offer: Nicolas Batum, Wesley Matthews and Raymond Felton for Rajon Rondo and Kevin Garnett. This gives the Blazers a starting lineup of Rajon Rondo, Jamal Crawford, Gerald Wallace, LaMarcus Aldridge, and Kevin Garnett. Danny Ainge has done stranger things before.
Now back to reality! Batum has to be traded this season; the Blazers have problems in the backcourt. The timing seems to be right to address both issues and make everyone happy.