Clippers Nicolas Batum reportedly plans to say no the $3.3 million second-year participant choice and turn into a free agent, in accordance with ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.
Regardless of the transfer, the French ahead has been comparatively forthright about his want to stay with the group that revitalized his profession two seasons in the past.
“I really like the group,” Batum mentioned shortly after the Clippers’ season-ending loss within the play-in recreation in opposition to New Orleans on April 15. “I’ve been right here for nearly two years now. I used to be nearly out of this league. It’s been two totally different years. However I beloved it, I beloved it. I like it right here. That coach, these guys. I imply, it’s robust right now, however it’s going to be enjoyable subsequent yr.”
He additionally frolicked this previous weekend answering fan questions on Twitter, together with one from @clippers_steve, who requested: What made you like the @LAClippers group?
Batum’s response: “Y’all welcomed me and my household with open arms on the lowest level of my profession.”
Y’all welcomed me and my household with open arms on the lowest level of my profession https://t.co/6RJjuXHlKS
— Nicolas Batum (@nicolas88batum) June 18, 2022
After Batum’s reemergence – rebounding gallantly from afterthought in Charlotte to key cog in L.A.’s Western Convention finals run in 2021 – attracted curiosity from a handful of groups final offseason, together with Portland, Golden State, Miami and Indiana, he was the primary free agent to signal with the Clippers final offseason.
They held Batum’s non-Hen rights, which meant they may re-sign him for 120% of his minimal wage – inking him to a two-year, $6.5 million deal, which left them with a $5.9 taxpayer exception to fill out the roster forward of final season.
Now, after Batum began 54 of 59 video games and averaged 8.3 factors and 4.3 rebounds in his 14th NBA season, the Clippers have his early Hen rights and may signal him to a contract of as much as $10.9 million, per ESPN’s Bobby Marks. Such a contract have to be for no less than two years and can’t embrace (if these early Hen rights are utilized) a participant choice after the primary yr.
That would give the Clippers a bonus over different potential contenders who would possibly come calling however may provide solely a taxpayer mid-level exception price $6.39 million. Groups with a full mid-level exception accessible a deal price $10.35 million.
Batum was the lone Clipper with a participant choice for the 2022-23, however L.A. additionally has a group choice pending on middle Ivica Zubac. They’ll must make a name earlier than free company begins June 30 on whether or not to choose up his choice for $7.5 million subsequent season.
Earlier than touchdown in L.A., Batum was waived with the stretch provision in 2020 by Charlotte, with which he’d signed a five-year $120 million deal in 2016. Which means he’ll earn $8.9 million from the Hornets within the 2022-23 season.
After he helped the Clippers stay aggressive final season with out their injured stars Kawhi Leonard (who missed all season recovering type a torn anterior cruciate ligament) and Paul George (who missed a lot of it therapeutic from a torn elbow ligament), Batum expressed enthusiasm in regards to the group and its future.
“That was enjoyable,” he mentioned in April. “We confirmed, like, we generally is a good group with out our two top-10 guys. That’s what I like. That’s what we confirmed this yr. We are able to do something. We are able to win video games. We might be down 25 and discover a option to win. We might be down 35 on the highway, win a recreation with out two top-10 guys. We nearly get to the playoffs with out two high 10 and the very best shooter within the league percentage-wise.
Then, serious about the group with Leonard and George, he added, once more: “It will likely be enjoyable subsequent yr.”
Making the sport of basketball a lot simpler https://t.co/rHHkKLWckq
— Nicolas Batum (@nicolas88batum) June 19, 2022