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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.
“I want to talk to (the Hornets) first, for sure. July 1 will be a crazy day, but will Charlotte be my first call? Yes,” Nicolas Batum said of free agency. However, Batum indicated he only wants to return if the Hornets make an effort to bring back the nucleus of this year’s team. He said the chemistry of this year’s Hornets team was outstanding, on and off the court.
Storyline: Nicolas Batum Free Agency