Hornets GM Rich Cho wants to re-sign as many of the team’s own soon-to-be free agents as possible, and he made it clear in his season-ending press conference today that Nicolas Batum is chief among his priorities, as Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer relays (All Twitter links). Cho said he told Batum that bringing him back tops his to-do list, and the Charlotte executive is confident the swingman wants to stay. “[Nic] definitely wants to be here,” Cho said, according to the Hornets Twitter feed. “He’s grown to like the city. He just had a child and his family likes it here. … We want him here.” Batum said earlier this week that he’s not sure how his free agency will play out but noted that he’d talk to Charlotte before speaking with any other teams.
See more on the Hornets amid news from the Southeast Division:
- Cho also mentioned that he’d like to add a rim protector in the offseason and said he thinks this year’s draft class has enough decent players for the Hornets to land one with their pick at No. 22, as Bonnell passes along (Twitter links).
- Luol Deng‘s late-season surge since moving to power forward helps his market value and presents a conundrum for the Heat, particularly given the question marks surrounding Chris Bosh, observes Ira Winderman of the Sun Sentinel. Deng is heading to free agency this summer, but the Heat only have his Early Bird rights, just as with Hassan Whiteside.
- Orlando has no shortage of cap flexibility for the offseason ahead, but the team should be willing to overpay Evan Fournier if that’s what’s necessary to quickly secure a commitment from him, The Vertical’s Bobby Marks argues. The Magic could thus keep his low cap hold on the books and use their cap space on others before officially signing Fournier via Bird rights.