Are the Portland Trail Blazers the T Wolves first Legit Rival?

Well, friends, here we are in the midst of another hectic summer of NBA free agency and our Timberpups just cannot seem to catch a break. For starters, the Trail Blazers matched the Wolves offer sheet to Nicolas Batum worth 4 years and roughly $46.5 million, ending the dream of nabbing the 23-year-old rising star who can shoot, defend, and play both shooting guard and small forward (both positions of significant need). Despite signing Kevin Love to a max contract earlier this year, the Timberwolves are loaded with cap space after the amnesty of Darko, trade of Brad Miller, waiving of Martell Webster, while watching both Michael Beasley and Anthony Randolph sign elsewhere after being non-tendered. This years crop of free agents was not the greatest in recent memory, but there was no doubt that there were plenty of serviceable players that the Timberwolves could realistically sign.

The Batum saga lasted for approximately 18 days, ultimately culminating in Minnesota fans getting their hopes up followed by an inevitable, oh-so-familiar Minnesota sports letdown. The time that Minnesota spent attempting a sign-and-trade with Portland for Batum was not without its opportunity cost as potential free agent fits OJ Mayo, Lou Williams, Jamal Crawford, Landry Fields, Chauncey Billups, and most recently Courtney Lee found new homes. The sting of losing out on Batum was only made worse by seeing other viable wing options fill the needs of contending teams, while limiting Minnesota’s remaining options in free agency. The failed pursuit of Batum not only yielded Portland retaining one of their core pieces, but also contributed to the brewing rivalry between the Timberwolves and Portland.
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