Will the San Antonio Spurs Enter the Nicolas Batum Sweepstakes?

Karthik TadisinaSenior Writer IApril 26, 2012

Nicolas Batum.
Nicolas Batum.Harry How/Getty Images

With the regular season ending this week and the playoffs ready to start, the upcoming summer of free agency is not far off.

In free agency there are a core group of players that get paid rather handsomely either as a result of receiving a max contract or being a restricted free agent on the open market. The latter allows a player’s former team to match any offer put forth by any of the remaining 29 teams.

One player that could fall into this category come July is French guard/forward Nicolas Batum of the Portland Trail Blazers.

The Trail Blazers like Batum and see him as a key piece to their rebuilding picture, but the price to retain his services could very well be in the $10 million to $11 million range.

He has been averaging a career-best 13.9 points this season, and he is becoming a force on the defensive end with his long arms and athletic ability.

One team that could look to add a young piece to their veteran-laden squad is the San Antonio Spurs. The Spurs, who are led by the veteran trio of Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker, may be looking to add Batum to bolster the veterans down the road.

Batum would reunite with good friend Tony Parker and make the Spurs an even scarier team to face on a nightly basis.

The Portland Trail Blazers were not able to reach an agreement on an extension with Batum and his agent Bouna Ndiaye during the season. The Trail Blazers now run the risk of entering a bidding war during free agency.

It will be interesting to see what takes place in the offseason regarding Batum. One would expect that he will have multiple suitors coming in with offers, thus raising the price of his next contract.