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Old 10-29-2012, 08:03 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Raptors were aggressive this summer going after Batum

At 12:01 a.m. Eastern time on July 1, as free agency opened and Blazers general manager Neil Olshey was busy wooing free agent center Roy Hibbert, Batum's cell phone illuminated. It was 6:01 a.m. in France. He looked at his longtime girlfriend, Melanie Pimentel, and answered the call. David Kahn, the GM of the Minnesota Timberwolves, was on the other end.

By the time the day ended, Batum says, 16 teams had called his agent, Bouna Ndiaye, to express interest. Minnesota, New Orleans, Toronto and Cleveland were most aggressive. And despite what you might think, Minnesota did not offer the most money. A source with knowledge of Batum's free agency says Cleveland offered a whopping $52 million.

"That was exciting," Batum says. "At this time, I didn't know what the rest of the league was thinking about me. I knew the Blazers loved me, wanted to keep me, but I didn't know what the other teams were thinking about me. I wanted to know who I am in this league. On July 1st, I was like, 'Wow.' "
Trail Blazers building blocks: Nicolas Batum, The Gamble | OregonLive.com
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