Wolfson: Wolves' Plan A is Nicolas Batum, who is interested in coming
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When you have an NBA-long playoff drought of eight years, your sense of urgency is as great as Jamaican Yohan Blake's as he approaches the starting line of a 100-meter race.
For that reason and others, the Minnesota Timberwolves are being as uber-aggressive as any team in the NBA with free agency underway.
On Sunday night in downtown Minneapolis, owner Glen Taylor and his wife had dinner with Portland Trail Blazers restricted free agent Nicolas Batum and his wife.
Earlier in the day, Batum had a lengthy chat with Wolves coach Rick Adelman and president of basketball operations David Kahn.
According to a source with intimate knowledge of those discussions, Batum is the Wolves' Plan A in free agency -- and he told the Wolves he has legitimate interest in coming.
Financially, the Wolves know where Batum stands, so a verbal agreement in advance of July 11 -- the first day free agent contracts can be signed -- could come very soon. But as of Monday night, with Batum no longer in the Twin Cities, a verbal agreement had not been reached.
A team source said Batum's agent is very much in control of the situation, more so than for most free agents.
Comcast Portland is reporting Batum will meet with the Blazers on Thursday or Friday. The Wolves think there's a decent chance he'll express his desire to play in Minnesota.
The team source said there's a far better chance that Batum would come via a sign-and-trade, because outright landing a restricted free agent is too tough. He is not planning on taking any other visits.
Asked if it was possible to land both Batum and Los Angeles Lakers forward Pau Gasol this summer, the source said, "Probably not," then added the Lakers are the aggressors in the Gasol talks.
The Wolves, like every team, have Plans B and C. It involves possibly trading for Philadelphia's Andre Iguodala, although the source said that contract is troublesome.
They also have reached out to representatives for free-agent shooting guards O.J. Mayo and Louis Williams. Neither is scheduled to visit for now, but that could change based on Batum.
Free-agent forward Jordan Hill was in town on Monday night for a visit, but he's not considered a big-time priority right now.
An ideal start to the offseason would be to get Batum and free agent Brandon Roy. No other visits are scheduled.
Taylor, Adelman, Kahn and a team trainer flew to Seattle on Friday to visit with Roy, his agent and one of Roy's good friends.
As previously reported, the Wolves are preparing a two-year offer for Roy. It will have built-in protection in case his knees force him to retire.
Roy is said to have enjoyed his visit with the Wolves contingent but plans on talking to Dallas, Golden State, Indiana and Chicago before making a decision.