With the Charlotte Hornets set to sign Gordon Hayward to a four-year, $120 million contract, the team will need to make some sort of maneuver to find the cap space for the 30-year-old.
And although a sign-and-trade with the Boston Celtics is still possible, another reported route the Hornets might take is to stretch and waive the final year of Nicolas Batum’s deal, which would make the French swingman an unrestricted free agent.
On a minimum deal, Batum – thanks to his multi-positional defensive capabilities, underrated playmaking skills and playoff experience – should draw interest from multiple contenders if he does reach the open maret.
In fact, that already appears to be the case, according to Batum’s agent, Jeremy Medjana.
Medjana recently told Basket Session that six teams have already shown interest in Batum, all of which have playoff aspirations in 2020-21. Here’s what the agent had to say:
“Six teams have contacted us and showed interest in Nico: Nets, Warriors, Jazz, Clippers, Bucks and Raptors. Nico is in the best shape of his life. He’s been working hard with coaches for two months. He lost ten kilos (roughly 22 pounds).”
An in-shape, healthy Batum could be a useful asset for contenders.
He knows his role and doesn’t try to do too much, shot nearly 39 percent from three as recently as 2018-19 and has almost 40 games’ worth of playoff experience to fall back on come postseason time.
What’s more, though people may not think too highly of his Hornets’ stint, it must be noted that over Batum’s first four seasons with the team, he did average 12.8 points, 5.6 rebounds and 5.1 assists per game while hitting 35 percent of his threes. Did he light the world on fire and live up to the huge contract Charlotte signed him to? No, but up until the last season, he was still a solid two-way wing for the team.
Plus, he’s still just 31 (almost 32), so his physical peak isn’t too far in the rearview mirror.
On teams like the ones his agent mentioned as potentially being interested, Batum could carve out a nice role coming off the bench.
For more on Nicolas Batum’s potential free agency, click here.