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Batum to play for France in summer The Portland Trail Blazers are back on the floor tonight and are playing their first home game since losing Wesley Matthews for the season. Obviously, the injury has led a lot of national voices to weigh in on its impact. But first, some news for the offseason. Nicolas Batum, who nike downshifter 7 has been revived after the All Star break, told the Oregonian Joe Freeman that he will play for the French national team this summer. Freeman also writes that Batum is keenly aware of what Blazers fans and commentators will say about Batum playing after openly being worn out earlier this season. Yes,Nicolas Batumknows all of that. But he also knows his country needs him. So Batum has decided to play for the French National Team this summer, when it nike indoor soccer shoes will try to defend its EuroBasket Championship on native soil in August. The move will be surprising to some, considering the Blazers small forward acknowledged last month that he hasfelt this NBA season, in part, because he overextended himself last summer. But, despite this fatigue which no doubt led to his subpar season there was never really a doubt that Batum would play internationally in 2015. have to fight for my country, he said There a lot more good stuff from Batum in the piece. Report. If you are a Blazers fan and don want to be bummed out, then avoid when they start talking about the Blazers at the 17:18 mark. Simmons called Matthews Portland second best player and Lowe raised concerns about the fit of Arron Afflalo. However, there have been some other perspectives that the Blazers are not yet done. The Blazers are not out of championship contention, not this year. Cleveland is still hoping to win without defensive leaderAnderson Varejao,whose loss earlier this seasoncreated more harm than the absence of Matthews. The Oklahoma City Thunder, the Los Angeles Clippers and the San Antonio Spurs have remained on track in spite of injuries. The Dallas Maverickswon their 2010 11 championshipafterCaron Butler, their second leading scorer, was sidelined by a torn knee in midseason. Stotts was an assistant coach on their staff that year. He saw how it was done. Every team in contention this season has at least one major issue to overcome. The champion, whoever it turns out to be, will have overcome a major flaw. So it is not about the flaw; it is about the will to overcome it, to find another way. When the Mavericks won, it was their best player, Nowitzki, who played the most influential basketball of his Hall of Fame career. That is the challenge now for Aldridge. This is his opportunity. Over the weekend, the Oregonian Mike Richman wrote about the 2011 Mavericks loss of Butler. Butler was 30 when he was injured. He was two years removed from two nike 8 flex All Star seasons in Washington, but still an important part of the Mavericks veteran group that had serious title hopes. was a starter, a big part of what we were, Stotts recalled of Butler on Saturday. struggled a little bit, but obviously we won a championship. After the losing skid, which dropped Dallas to 28 15, the Mavericks found a groove. They won 29 of their final 39 games and earned the third seed in the West playoffs. I also wrote about the Matthews injury for ESPN True Hoop blog. We also covered how CJ McCollum role will expand in light of Matthews injury in Wednesday Columbian. In some news that will impact the Blazers and every team in the league down the road, the league announced that the NBA Players Association has rejected the league proposal. The proposal would have prevented a large jump in the cap in the summer of 2016 when the league television deal kicks in. "The National Basketball Players Association has informed the NBA that it will not agree to 'smoothing' in the increases in the Salary Cap that will result from the new national media agreements beginning in the 2016 17 season, a league spokesman said. "Smoothing would have avoided a substantialSalary Cap spike in 2016 17. Under the league smoothing approach, the salary shortfall resulting from more gradual Cap increases would have been paid directly to the Players Association for distribution to all players, and thus the total compensation paid to players in any given season would not have been impacted." Also, the yearly Nike Hoop Summit is coming to Portland and they just released the roster with the World team featuring prospects Ben Simmons and Thon Maker.