Blazers in free-agent waiting mode

By Matt Calkins, Columbian Sports Reporter

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It was Day 2 of The Match Game Monday, as speculation continues on whether the Trail Blazers will land restricted free agent Roy Hibbert.

Reports surfaced Sunday that Portland had offered the Indiana center a 4-year, $58 million contract, which the Pacers have three days to match once the free-agency moratorium period ends on July 11.

So will it happen?

Depends on whom you ask.

Mike Wells, the Pacers beat writer for the Indianapolis Star, said in a radio interview that he thinks the proposed contract is a bit out of Indiana’s price range, and the thinks Hibbert will ultimately end up in Portland.

Meanwhile, columnist Bob Kravitz, also of the Star, wrote that he thinks there’s an 80-90 percent chance the Pacers will match.

And then there’s ESPN NBA writer Chad Ford, who said there’s a “51 percent chance” the Pacers match.

When will we actually know? Likely not until July 14 ... but expect plenty of guessing until then.

Speaking of guessing, it appears as though fans will be in similar suspense as to whether Portland retains restricted free agent Nicolas Batum.

Multiple outlets reported that the Timberwolves met with the Frenchman on Monday, while CSNNW.com said that Batum has narrowed his choices down to the Blazers and Wolves, and that he will meet with Portland this week.

In his first press conference in Portland, Blazers general manager Neil Olshey said that Batum was a cornerstone of the franchise.