NBA Trade Rumors: Hornets 'Desperate' to Move Nicolas Batum at Deadline

Kyle Newport@@KyleNewportFeatured ColumnistJanuary 3, 2019

WASHINGTON, DC - DECEMBER 29: Nicolas Batum #5 of the Charlotte Hornets looks on during the second half against the Washington Wizards at Capital One Arena on December 29, 2018 in Washington, DC. 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. (Photo by Will Newton/Getty Images)
Will Newton/Getty Images

The Charlotte Hornets are "desperate" to move Nicolas Batum and would consider packaging him with former lottery pick Frank Kaminsky, according to the Sporting News' Sean Deveney

Batum is in the middle of a five-year, $120 million deal he signed in July 2016. Per Spotrac, Batum, who is making $24 million this season, is owed $25.6 million next season and holds a $27.1 million player option for 2020-21.

A first-round pick back in 2008, Batum spent the first seven years of his career with the Portland Trail Blazers before joining Charlotte in 2015. 

Despite shooting 45.8 percent from the floor, the 30-year-old is averaging just 8.8 points per game this season, which would be his lowest total since his rookie season. Also of note, he has a net rating of just 0.0 in 36 appearances this season, per NBA.com, which is only a slight improvement from his negative-0.2 rating from a season ago.

Also of note, his usage percentage (12.8 percent) is currently at a career low, per NBA.com.

Batum remains in Charlotte's starting lineup, although his minutes have, albeit just slightly, gradually declined as his Buzz City tenure has progressed. His 30.5 minutes per game this season are on pace to be his lowest since 2011-12.

He told NBA.com's Ian Thomsen back in July 2017 that he prioritizes being a "good team player" over individual statistics. His offensive numbers are not quite on the level they were when he signed his lucrative contract, but he has been willing to take on challenges on the defensive end of the court.

Batum's contract makes finding a trade tough, but it appears as though the Hornets are exploring the idea of potentially packaging him with other players to try to get something done.

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