Nicolas Batum’s agent stated recently that he is optimistic that he will get his fresh contract with the Charlotte Hornets early in free agency. The move could put in danger the chance of Jeremy Lin staying with the team as the latter has been involved in a lot of NBA rumors about moving on to another NBA squad.
“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,” FIBA.com reports on Batum’s contract situation this 2016 free agency.
Batum was listed in France’s 17-man preliminary roster for the Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Manila, Philippines set for July later this year although it’s not sure if he will be able to suit up for his country, which is trying to make the Rio Olympics in the qualifiers. If Batum is able to get a new contract with Charlotte or any other NBA team early in free agency, there is a big chance he will play for France in the OQT.
The development will most likely affect Jeremy Lin and his contract situation in Charlotte. Lin has announced previously that he will be opting out of his deal with the Hornets but said that money is not an important factor in free agency. However, Lin is also speculated to be searching for a long-term deal since this might be his last chance to get a lucrative contract after playing well for the Hornets the past season.
Even with the rise in salary cap for all NBA teams, the Hornets does not have the budget to go at free agents who will demand a max contract. Charlotte has a number of players who will hit free agency and this includes Batum and Lin along with other key players from last season like Al Jefferson, Marvin Williams and Courtney Lee, among others.
Among that group, Batum is seen as the player who will be a top priority for the Hornets in free agency. It’s not known who among the other players, which includes Jeremy Lin will be next in line for the contract extension. If Charlotte prioritizes the other players, it could give other teams like the New York Knicks, Houston Rockets or San Antonio Spurs to sign the Asian-American guard.