Report: Nicolas Batum Will Decline $3.3M Clippers Contract Option, Become Free Agent

Doric SamJune 21, 2022

LOS ANGELES, CA - APRIL 15: Robert Covington #23 of the LA Clippers and Nicolas Batum #33 celebrate against the New Orleans Pelicans during the 2022 play-in tournament on April 15, 2022 at Crypto.Com Arena in Los Angeles, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2022 NBAE (Photo by Adam Pantozzi/NBAE via Getty Images)
Adam Pantozzi/NBAE via Getty Images

Los Angeles Clippers forward Nicolas Batum is reportedly expected to decline his $3.3 million player option for the 2022-23 season and become a free agent.

ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported the news and added that there is expected to be "mutual interest" between the Clippers and Batum to reach a new deal.

In May, Batum expressed a desire to finish his career with the Clippers because of his connection with head coach Ty Lue.

"Ty Lue saved my life, so I'll stay with T-Lue unless they kick me out," he said. "He saved my career."

Batum first joined the Clippers in December 2020 after being waived by the Charlotte Hornets. He re-signed with Los Angeles on a two-year deal in August 2021.

The 33-year-old appeared in 59 games for the Clippers last season with 54 starts. He averaged 8.3 points, 4.3 rebounds and 1.7 assists while shooting 46.3 percent from the field and 40.0 percent from three-point range.

A 13-year veteran, Batum is known for his versatility on both ends of the floor. During a 2021 playoff game against the Dallas Mavericks, in fact, the 6'8" Batum lined up as the starting center.

Batum was drafted by the Houston Rockets with the 25th pick in 2008 before being traded to the Portland Trail Blazers that same night. He spent the first seven seasons of his career in Portland before being traded to the Hornets in 2015. For his career, he has averages of 11.1 points, 5.1 rebounds and 3.5 assists per game.

The Clippers went 42-40 last season to finish third in the Pacific Division. However, Los Angeles failed to reach the playoffs after losing both of its play-in tournament games to the New Orleans Pelicans and Minnesota Timberwolves.

Batum's return isn't guaranteed, but re-signing with the Clippers could be especially enticing to him with Kawhi Leonard set to return next season after missing the entire 2021-22 campaign because of injury.