In an exclusive interview with French media BasketSession.com, Nicolas Batum discussed for the first time the reasons that lead him to sign with SLUC Nancy, the French team with which he’ll play next season as long as the lockout prevents him form playing in the NBA. Why chose Nancy specifically? Nicolas Batum: “I wanted to be sure to play in the Euroleague. I wanted to come back to France so that my family could see me play. I had the chance to come back here and to play in the Euroleague at the same time so Nancy was a natural choice for me. […] Nancy has a very nice legacy. It’s been France’s most consistent team those last 6 to 7 years, since coach Monschau came aboard. They’ve been to the finals 5 times in 7 years and they won 2 of the last 4 championships. This team is proven.”
How did it happen? Nicolas Batum: “Actually, I made the first move. After Nancy won the last French championship, I sent a message to my agent (Bouna N’Diaye) that said “It could be nice to play for Nancy…” I was thinking about that even before the final, when I had started wondering where I could play next season. Bouna asked them if they would be interested and they were. All we had to do then was to reach an agreement.”
About his reasons for not choosing ASVEL, Tony Parker’s team: Nicolas Batum: “The discussions with ASVEL were interesting but I had to make a choice and I chose Nancy because of the Euroleague. Tony respects my decision. It is just business. He’s intelligent and he knows how it works so he understood. He’ll get over it and Villeurbanne too, I’m not to worried for them they’ll have a great team.”
About the other offers he’s received from other countries: Nicolas Batum: “I’ve had some propositions form Spain, Greece and Italy, but I wanted to play in France for family reasons. […] It wasn’t about the money! I’ve turned down more lucrative offers to play in France.”
SLUC Nancy made official today the signing of Nicolas Batum who signed a one-year deal. Batum will stay in France until lockout in NBA ends. Batum has played three seasons in the NBA and in 2010-11 averaged 12.4ppg and 4.5rpg in 80 games with Portland Trail Blazers.