ChrisHaynes, CSNNW.com NBA & Trail Blazers Insider
ThePortland Trail Blazers will decline to exercise the fourth-yearoption on forward Luke Babbitt and he will become an unrestrictedfree agent at the end of the 2012-13 season, a source close to the situation has informed CSNNW.com.
The Trail Blazers had until Oct. 31, to elect whether to pick up or decline Babbitt'soption worth 2.9 million.
Babbitthad a slow rookie campaign only participating in 24 games andshooting a miserable 27 percent from the field and 18 percent fromthree-point range.
However,during his second season, he got an extended boost in minutes onceNate McMillan was let go as head coach and he became one of the topthree-point shooters in the league shooting 43 percent from deep.
Addthe fact that Babbitt had a solid 2012 preseason shooting 50 percentfrom the field and 44 percent from three-point range, had to havemade the decision to not grant Babbitt one more development year, atough one.
Thisdecision does not mean this is the final year for Babbitt inPortland, it just gives the Trail Blazers more flexibility to pursue atop free agent in the summer.
Althoughno confirmation, it likely means the Trail Blazers may decline thefourth-year option on Elliot Williams and third-year option on NolanSmith, as well.
Today Trail Blazers general manager Neil Olshey confirmed our Babbitt report and says the team has also decided to decline the options of Smith and Williams.