The 9 p.m. Wednesday deadline for the Trail Blazers and Nicolas Batum to agree on a contract extension came and went without a deal, raising questions about the small forward’s future with the organization and rankling his agent.
After weeks of negotiations that included talks throughout the day Wednesday, the Blazers and Batum’s agent, Bouna Ndiaye, could not find middle ground, guaranteeing that Batum will become a free agent after this season. And Ndiaye says Batum will explore every available opportunity on the market.
“They say they love him but they didn’t offer him something fair, so that’s it,” Ndiaye said. “We tried and there’s no deal. On July 1 we’re going to look at the market first before we come back to the Blazers. That’s for sure.”
Wednesday’s development does not necessarily signal an end to Batum’s tenure with the Blazers, even if Ndiaye lands an offer from another team, but it does create uncertainty. Assuming the Blazers tender Batum a qualifying offer after the season — a virtual lock — he will become a restricted free agent on July 1. At that point, the Blazers would have the right to match any offer from another team.
— Reported by Joe Freeman of the Oregonian
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