Nicolas Batum ended his free agency early as expected as he agreed to sign a five-year contract worth $129 million with the Charlotte Hornets. Batum and the Hornets will have until July 7 to formally ink the said deal.
Batum has always hinted that he wants to re-sign with the Hornets even before he joined the free agency market. His names were linked with many teams including the Los Angeles Lakers, which tried to lure him as part of their rebuilding efforts. The Vertical first reported of the agreement of both Batum and the Hornets.
According to ESPN, Batum was scheduled to meet with the Dallas Mavericks on Friday, but probably the meeting will officially be canceled after Batum struck the deal hours leading to the start of the free agency season. The Hornets hold the Batum’s Bird’s right, which made them as the leading squad to re-sign him as quickly as possible.
The 27-year old Frenchman was drafted originally by the Portland Trailblazers during the 2008 NBA Draft and was the 25th overall pick. He was then traded to the Hornets in 2015 in exchange for Gerald Henderson, Jr. and Noah Vonleh. With the Hornets, Batum emerged as a prolific scorer, averaging 14.9 points, 5.8 assists and 6.1 rebounds per game.
His value to the team made him the Hornets’ top priority even before the start of the free agency season. Now that the Hornets have secured Batum, they turn their attention to the rest of their free agents all of whom they wish to re-sign. That group includes Jeremy Lin, Courtney Lee, Marvin Williams, and Al Jefferson.
With his future secured with the Hornets, Batum will next face his obligations to his country, France. As they try to get that spot going into the Rio Olympics in Aug. Batum and the rest of the French national squad will fly to Manila, Philippines in time for the start of the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament that will be from July 5 to 10.
Batum is expecTournamenty alongside compatriots Tony Parker, Boris Diaw, Rudy Gobert, Joffrey Lauvergne, and Evan Fournier. France will face New Zealand, Canada, Senegal, Turkey, and host Philippines.
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