“He’s always expressed a desire to come back to Portland,” Olshey said. “His agent did what he needed to do, which is get him the best possible deal for his client. He feels like he did that. Nicolas got his deal, we got our player back and we’ll move on.”
In some ways, losing out on Batum will still help the Wolves. They have more than $14 million in cap room now, and are expected to announce agreements with former Blazers guard Brandon Roy and Russian guard Alexey Shved in the coming days.
Minnesota also is interested in Celtics restricted free agent Greg Stiemsma, Lakers power forward Jordan Hill and is expected to pursue Rockets free agent Courtney Lee and Bulls veteran Ronnie Brewer as contingency plans for Batum.
AP Sports Writer Anne M. Peterson contributed to this report from Portland, Ore.