Storyline: Nicolas Batum Free Agency

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Charlotte Hornets General Manager Rich Cho announced today that the team has re-signed guard/forward Nicolas Batum to a multi-year deal. Per team policy, terms of the deal were not disclosed. “Ensuring that Nic remained in Charlotte was a top priority for us this offseason and we are thrilled that he has re-signed with us,” Cho said. “Nic brings versatility, skill and playmaking to our roster that complements all of our players and played a significant role in our playoff berth in 2015-16. We are excited to continue to build on what we’ve accomplished with Nic as a Hornet.”

Batum’s agent had previously indicated that his client, a free agent who just had a terrific first season with the Charlotte Hornets, would be in the United States resolving his NBA future and that the paperwork would not be finalized in time for him to play. However, it is understood that the French player and the Hornets will quickly agree terms on a new deal and that could could give France enough time to obtain insurance for Batum and allow him to take part in some of the OQT games.

Coach Steve Clifford said Monday he’d prefer to coach the same group again, but acknowledged it might be difficult to re-sign everyone given the NBA salary cap. Much of the Hornets future could be predicated on what happens with unrestricted free agent Nicolas Batum, whom Clifford acknowledged will be the team’s No. 1 priority in free agency. Batum averaged a career-high 14.9 points along with 6.1 rebounds and 5.8 assists per game for the Hornets during the regular season, although his production was limited in the postseason due to a foot injury. The Hornets lost in seven games to the Miami Heat on Sunday.

Interestingly, Batum says that the exciting part about free agency isn’t the options or the chance to improve his net worth, but how free agency acts as kind of an evaluation tool for your worth in the league. “Free agency is always exciting for an NBA player’s career,” Batum says, “and you can see where you are, and where you stand among the other players. It’s an opportunity to judge yourself against the other players, and what you’re worth in this league.”

“By signing Kemba and MKG to extensions, re-signing the coach, that shows that we’re not just building something for this year and next year,” Batum said. “No, we’re looking long-term with this group of guys. That’s good for the fan base, the players, everybody. You can’t just do something like this for one year. It takes time. It’s a process, but this style of things is good. We’re young, we’re talented, we like the coach. Hopefully we can keep this same group of guys for a couple years.”
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