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Nicolas Batum Rumors: Clippers Hope to Re-Sign FA; Warriors, Heat, Pacers Linked

Rob Goldberg@@TheRobGoldbergFeatured Columnist IVAugust 1, 2021

AP Photo/Ashley Landis

The Los Angeles Clippers reportedly hope to re-sign unrestricted free agent Nicolas Batum this offseason, but they will have plenty of competition for the veteran forward, according to Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports.

Haynes reported the Miami Heat, Golden State Warriors and Indiana Pacers are among the teams interested in Batum.

The 32-year-old was coming off a brutal 2019-20 season with the Charlotte Hornets, averaging just 3.6 points in 22 games. He was waived in November before latching on with the Clippers on his way to a bounce-back season.

Batum finished 2020-21 with averages of 8.1 points, 4.7 rebounds and 1.0 steals per game in 67 appearances (38 starts).

The forward's two-way ability was a major reason he led the Clippers in minutes played this year. The team was 5.3 points per 100 possessions better when he was on the court, per Basketball Reference.

Only Kawhi Leonard and Paul George had a bigger impact in net plus/minus per 100 possessions.

At 32 years old, Batum is no longer the scoring threat he was earlier in his career with the Hornets and Portland Trail Blazers, but he still stepped up when needed for the Clippers. He had 16 points, seven rebounds, three blocks and two steals in the clinching Game 6 victory over the Utah Jazz after Leonard went down with his knee injury. 

With Leonard expected to miss significant time in 2021-22 with a torn ACL, Los Angeles could use another proven player like Batum who can contribute on the wing. The added continuity from last year's squad could also be helpful.

There are also high expectations heading into next year for Miami, Golden State and Indiana, three teams who were all relatively disappointing last season. Each squad has other players to handle the majority of scoring, but Batum could be the type of role player needed to get over the top and compete in the postseason.

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