New Hornet Nicolas Batum can expect an expanded role in Charlotte, according to Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer. Batum, who was acquired from the Blazers Wednesday in exchange for Gerald Henderson and Noah Vonleh, was a third or fourth option in Portland. Charlotte coach Steve Clifford plans to start Batum at shooting guard and run the offense through him, similar to how Hedo Turkoglu once operated when Clifford was an assistant coach in Orlando. “I know my role is going to be different and I like that,” Batum said. “I know I can do a lot of things on the court; I’m a very versatile player. So me and Kemba [Walker] can do great things together.” Batum has one year left on his contract at nearly $11.9MM and will become an unrestricted free agent next summer.
There’s more news from Charlotte:
- Jeremy Lamb is ready for a “fresh start” with the Hornets, writes Pat James of The Charlotte Observer. The Hornets acquired Lamb from Oklahoma City in a draft-day trade as part of an effort to improve their league-worst three-point shooting. The three-year veteran, who is now with his third team, says Charlotte is a good place for him to showcase his skills. “It gives me an opportunity to try to get a role and just play,” Lamb said. “I’m going to make the most of it. I’m just going to work hard and try my best to put myself in a position to play and have a role on this team.” Still on his rookie deal, Lamb is under the Hornets’ control through the 2016/17 season.
- Clifford thinks the Hornets are much improved after a week that brought three trades and a lottery pick, according to Steve Reed of the Associated Press. In addition to the deals that added Batum and Lamb, Charlotte acquired Spencer Hawes from the Clippers and drafted Frank Kaminsky at No. 9. Clifford said the moves brought “more size, skill and versatility” to the Hornets.
- The Hornets’ priorities in free agency will be finding a third point guard and possibly another shooter, Bonnell tweets. He adds that it’s not certain Bismack Biyombo will receive a qualifying offer. This week’s trades added $5MM to the Hornets payroll. (Twitter link).