8:09pm: The trade is official, the Blazers announced. “Nic Batum was a key contributor to all of our recent success,” said Blazers executive Neil Olshey. “He will truly be missed as a person and a player. We wish Nic all the best for the future.”
6:08 pm: The Blazers and Hornets are finalizing a deal that would send Nicolas Batum to Charlotte in exchange for Noah Vonleh and Gerald Henderson, Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports reports (Twitter link). The Yahoo! scribe had reported earlier today that the Hornets were seeking to acquire a wing player in advance of the NBA Draft, but Wojnarowski had relayed that the team was aggressively shopping big man Cody Zeller.
Batum, 26, certainly can be considered an upgrade for Charlotte, despite him coming off a subpar 2014/15 campaign. He appeared in 71 contests for the Blazers, averaging 9.4 points, 5.9 rebounds, and 4.8 assists. His career numbers are 11.2 PPG, 5.1 RPG, and 4.8 APG, with a slash line of .446/.363/.834. Batum is set to earn $12,235,750 for the 2015/16 season, and that amount is fully guaranteed.
It’s a bit of a surprise that the Hornets would deal away Vonleh, the team’s lottery selection of a year ago. The 19-year-old only appeared in 25 contests for the Hornets after getting off to late start due to a preseason sports hernia injury. The immediate conclusion would be that Vonleh was acquired by the Blazers to protect themselves in the event that unrestricted free agent LaMarcus Aldridge departs this offseason, but the deal was made with Aldridge’s knowledge, and was done independently of his free agent decision, Wojnarowski tweets. Vonleh averaged 3.3 points and 3.4 rebounds in 10.4 minutes per contest this past season, and is set to earn $2,637,720 in 2015/16.
Henderson, 27, recently picked up his $6MM player option for next season, and is set to become an unrestricted free agent next summer. He appeared in 80 games for Charlotte during the 2014/15 campaign, and averaged 12.1 points, 3.4 rebounds, and 2.6 assists in 28.9 minutes per contest. His shooting numbers last season were .437/.331/.848.