Many have been up in arms about the Blazers not signing Batum to a deal thus allowing him to become a restricted free agent this summer. This is typical for long time Blazer fans who will never forget how they felt when Drazen Petrovich and Jermaine O’Neal and Jermaine O’Neal became all-stars with the Nets and Pacers respectively. This train of thought has led small market franchises to give Adonyle Foyle, Austin Croshere, and Bobby Simmons each over $40 million (Are you are racking your brain trying to remember each of these players and/or the teams that signed them? My point exactly).
When you take the emotion out of the equation, the Blazers had to ask themselves if, at this time, they are ready to make Nic Batum a cornerstone of the organization. This is not an issue unfamiliar to the Blazers as a few summers ago they were in the same situation with LaMarcus. They decided to make a commitment to him and it has paid dividends. Before you get excited and think history can repeat itself, please remember all of the history. The Blazer made a commitment to Darius Miles and how well did that work out?
What they have in Batum is a wing player who can shoot the three and defend. I am confused, are we talking about Nic Batum or Mikal Peitrus? This thing is, the Blazers did not sign him for one reason and one reason only: they did not have to. Being a restricted free agent means the Blazers hold all of the cards. If he gets a big contract from them, you’ll know they view him like LaMarcus. If not, you’ll know they view him like Darius.