As the hope for a sign-and-trade with Portland for Nicolas Batum dwindles, the Timberwolves were busy yesterday clearing cap space with the casualties being Martell Webster and Brad Miller. Webster was waived and bought out for a total of $600,000, ending a mediocre tenure on Minnesota. Bothered with multiple back surgeries spanning his 7-year career, Webster was originally acquired by Minnesota for the 16th overall selection in the 2010 draft. Originally taken with the 6th overall pick out of Seattle Preparatory High School, the hyper-athletic swingman was unable to live up to his lofty expectations while primarily serving as backup to Brandon Roy, and David Kahn saw him as worth the gamble. Fortunately for Minnesota, Luke Babbitt, Portland’s end of the 2010 trade, has averaged a miserable 3.7 PPG thus far into his short NBA career. If the Wolves would have not bought out Webster, he would have been due a $5.7 million team option, a price tag his 10.02 Player Efficiency Rating is undoubtedly not worth.
Minnesota also sent Brad Miller packing to New Orleans along with two future second-round draft picks in exchange for one conditional second-round pick. The picks Minnesota sent to the Hornets are the Nets’ 2013 second-round selection along with Minnesota’s own 2016 second-round choice. Although Miller has stated that he will not play another season and will retire this offseason, he was awaiting a $848,000 buyout before filing his retirement paperwork. The Wolves apparently did not feel comfortable keeping that buyout money on their payroll, and likewise sent out two second-round picks to cover the cost, a price some would feel that is excessive.
The Timberpups did all of these moves with one player in mind: the versatile and up-and-coming Nicolas Batum, whom the Pups are set to offer a 4-year, $46.5 million offer sheet. However, the offer sheet cannot be signed until 5 PM ET on Sunday, when Webster will officially clear waivers and when the Wolves will officially have the cap space to sign Batum. Once signed, Portland will have a total of 3 days to match the offer sheet, something that they have remained adamant that they will do. In the time between now and Sunday, David Kahn has stated that he will continue to engage in sign-and-trade talks with new Portland GM Neil Olshey, but Kahn’s unwillingness to include last year’s number 2 overall pick Derrick Williams in a trade will likely keep Batum in Portland and Minnesota on to Plan B… whatever that is.