Nicolas Batum has enjoyed his career revival in Los Angeles as a member of the Clippers. Before initially packing his bags and heading to the bright and sunny skies in LA, Batum feared that his time as an NBA ball player had officially come to a close.
During the final year of his five-year deal with the Charlotte Hornets, Batum languished listlessly on the bench, unwanted and discarded as Charlotte had little to no use for him. On a whim, Batum signed with the LA Clippers during the 2020-21 season. Reinvigorated by his new location and bigger role, Batum played inspired basketball, averaging 8.1 points, 4.7 rebounds, and 2.2 assists. This past season, Batum repeated his efforts with another solid season. The versatile swingman averaged 8.3 points per game to go along with 4.3 rebounds on a 42-win Clipper team.
While Batum has spouted countless superlatives over his time in LA, the 33-year-old will be looking for a sizable raise in pay.
Nick Batum will opt out once free agency begins
As first reported by Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN, Batum will decline his $3.3 million player option. As a result, Batum will become an unrestricted free agent.
Although Batum will officially test the open market waters, he’s expressed time and time again that he would love to retire as a Clipper. At his lowest, Batum credits Ty Lue and the entire Clippers organization for not only reviving but also protracting his NBA career.
Batum’s reported opt-out plans, appear to be financially motivated. As a free agent, the Clippers, due to the franchise holding Batum’s bird rights, could offer him a contract worth up to $10.9 million over the next two seasons.
If Batum’s financial demands are met, the soft-spoken forward will receive multiple forms of income during the 2022-23 season. With Charlotte opting to waive and stretch Batum in 2020, Charlotte is on the hook next season for $8.9 million.