Blazers busy in free agency’s first day



PORTLAND, Ore. — The Portland Trail Blazers were busy in the first day of free agency in the NBA, although most of the team’s moves were not regarding free agents.

The biggest question mark for Portland is whether the Minnesota Timberwolves will give Blazers restricted free agent Nicolas Batum an offer sheet. If the Wolves do, Blazers general manager Neil Olshey says the team will match it.

The Associated Press reported there was speculation Portland and Minnesota were working on a sign-and-trade to allow Batum to go to the Timberwolves, where Batum’s agent says his client would prefer to play next season.

Blazer’s Edge and writer Ben Golliver pointed out on Friday’s Goofing Around at Lunch that it is Batum’s agent who has said he doesn’t want to play for Portland any longer, but not Batum himself. Still, Golliver says Portland will work to ensure he’s a Blazer this season.

Crawford Leaves Portland For Clippers

2011 free agent pick-up Jamal Crawford is leaving the Portland Trail Blazers to join the Los Angeles Clippers. Crawford averaged 13.9 points, 3.2 assists and 2.0 rebounds in 60 games last season with Portland.

Blazers Sign Old Draft Picks

The Blazers did agree to terms with a couple of past draft picks. The Oregonian says 2006 draftee Joel Freeland of Britain reportedly signed for three years. The 6-10 Freeland still had two years on his European contract, which was bought out by Portland.

The newspaper also reports the Blazers have signed 2009 draft pick Victor Claver – a 6-10 small forward and a member of Spain’s national team. He’s 23 years old and averaged nearly nine points per game in the ACB League in Spain.

The Blazers also re-signed J.J. Hickson who was claimed off waivers last year. Hickson scored over 15 points for Portland and signed a new one-year deal.