Nicolas Batum has been making a lot of buzz these days as the Charlotte Hornets forward has been a sought after player going into the free agency season of the NBA.
After losing their first round postseason series to the Miami Heat, the Hornets are not wasting any time as they are facing a huge dilemma with four of its starters have opted to join the free agency market. Aside from Batum, Courtney Lee Al Jefferson and Marvin Williams have all opted out of their contracts to test their market value going into next season.
Batun told Fox Sports that he would certainly want to come back and play for the Hornets as long as they would also bring back the teams nucleus which enabled them to come this far in the season. It will be a tall order to follow since the NBA salary cap restricts them from over spending in players not to mention with the upcoming draft as well.
”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,” Batum said.
Aside from the starting nucleus, Hornets point guard Jeremy Lin is also opting out of his contract but has stated that he would want to come back and lay for the Hornets as well together with Batum and the rest of the guys.
Hornets coach Steve Clifford believes that he will be one of the key factors to re-signing Batum and the rest of their free agents. Clifford tells Rick Bonell of the Charlotte Observer that Batum believes and trusts him on how he runs things with the team inside the court.
“He trusts me. He believes in me. So that could be a big factor,” Clifford added.
Batum on Clifford: “He trusts me. He believes in me. So that could be a big factor.” in Batum's free-agency decision.
— Rick Bonnell (@rick_bonnell) November 25, 2015
November of last year, Clifford agreed to terms with the Hornets and sign a multiyear extension which includes a three-year guarantee that would keep Clifford in his current role through the 2018-19 season while the Hornets have an option going on the 2019-20 season. With that in place, Clifford is hoping that Batum and the rest of the team’s free agents would come back for another playoff run and hopefully they could also land a superstar free agent that could spice things up for the buzz city.
The 27-year old Frenchman was traded by the Portland Trailblazers to the Hornets back in June 24, 2015 in exchange for Gerald Henderson and Noah Vonleh. He has a salary base cap of $11.8 million and a cap hot of $13.1 million. It is still not sure how much will the Hornets lay on the table for Batum to take and re-sign with them.
If the Hornets will not be able to re-sign Batum, teams are lurking along the side ready to make their pitch and that includes the New York Knicks, Dallas Mavericks, Miami Heat and Los Angeles Lakers.
Photo Courtesy: Hugo THornet/Wikimedia