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Wolves get Layman in sign-and-trade with Blazers

Portland Trail Blazers restricted free-agent forward Jake Layman has agreed to a three-year, $11.5 million contract with the Minnesota Timberwolves, agent Mark Bartelstein of Priority Sports told ESPN.

The deal will be part of a sign-and-trade that the Blazers agreed upon to accommodate Layman’s desire to join the Timberwolves. Minnesota had the ability to sign Layman to an offer sheet, and Portland’s president of basketball operations allowed Layman the chance to join the Wolves without the aggravation of that process.

Layman’s future with the Blazers had become uncertain given the franchise’s trade for Kent Bazemore, re-signing of Rodney Hood and drafting of North Carolina’s Nassir Little.

“We’re extremely appreciative of how hard [Portland president of basketball operations) Neil Olshey worked with us to accommodate what we were trying to accomplish in sign and trade,” Bartelstein told ESPN. “The deal couldn’t have happened without the Blazers looking out for Jake’s best interests.”

In general these are accommodations that teams will make to validate their mantras that they’re indeed ‘player-first’ organizations, especially for homegrown and well-regarded organizational players like Layman. Seven years ago, Olshey made a similar gesture with Indiana, which planned to match a four-year, $58 million offer sheet that Portland was preparing for restricted free agent Roy Hibbert.

Ultimately, Olshey let former Indiana GM Donnie Walsh simply re-sign Hibbert to spare the two teams the acrimony that comes with offer sheets.

Minnesota was able to absorb Layman into part of a trade exception created with the draft night deal that sent Dario Saric to the Phoenix Suns.

Under new president of basketball operations Gersson Rosas, the Timberwolves have added Layman, No. 6 overall pick Jarrett Culver of Texas Tech, and free agent Noah Vonleh to the roster this offseason. Layman joins former Blazers assistant David Vanterpool, the new Timberwolves associate head coach, in Minnesota.

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