Nicolas Batum Contract: Latest News, Rumors on Negotiations with Hornets

Scott PolacekFeatured Columnist

DALLAS, TX - NOVEMBER 05:  Head coach Steve Clifford and Nicolas Batum #5 of the Charlotte Hornets during play against the Dallas Mavericks at American Airlines Center on November 5, 2015 in Dallas, Texas.  NOTE TO USER:  User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
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Charlotte Hornets swingman Nicolas Batum is set to become a free agent after the 2015-16 campaign, and he could re-sign with his team given his recent comments.

Continue for updates.

Batum and Steve Clifford Could Be a Package Deal

Wednesday, Nov. 25

Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer passed along a note that Batum “said extending [head] coach Steve Clifford’s contract could enhance the Hornets’ chances of re-signing him over the summer.”   

Batum provided context to his suggestion when he discussed his relationship with Clifford, per Bonnell: “He trusts me. He believes in me. So that could be a big factor.”

That is good news for those hoping Batum stays in Charlotte because Bonnell reported Wednesday the Hornets and Clifford "have come to an agreement on a multiyear extension. ... The deal includes a three-year guarantee that would keep Clifford in his current role through the 2018-19 season. The Hornets have an option on the 2019-20 season."

Charlotte acquired Batum in a trade with the Portland Trail Blazers during the offseason in exchange for guard Gerald Henderson and forward Noah Vonleh.

The former Trail Blazer fit right into the Hornets’ attack and is averaging 16.9 points, 6.1 rebounds and 4.1 assists per game in the early going. It would be a career high if he maintained those scoring numbers all season, and he already took home his first career Eastern Conference Player of the Week award this year.

The Hornets would be in the Eastern Conference playoffs if the season ended Wednesday, thanks largely to the performance of Batum alongside superstar big man Al Jefferson and guard Kemba Walker.

Batum is playing impressive basketball at the age 26 and will be in line for a pricey contract if it continues, especially with the cap set to increase in the coming years when the swingman is still in his prime. Charlotte apparently maximized its chances with Batum with the decision to commit to Clifford long-term.