Nicolas Batum isn’t entirely sure whether he’ll re-sign with the Hornets when he hits free agency this summer, but he feels he has unfinished business in Charlotte and the Hornets will be the first team he talks to when free agent negotiations are allowed to begin July 1st, as he said today to reporters, including Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer. Coach Steve Clifford confirmed Batum is the team’s top priority among its free agents, Bonnell notes.
“When I came here they let me know they wanted me to be one of the [top] two options with Kemba [Walker],” Batum said. “I liked that. I like that they trusted me. It was a pretty cool year. First time I got to play like I want to in eight years in the NBA.”
- Al Jefferson gave perhaps the strongest endorsement of the Hornets among Charlotte’s soon-to-be free agents who spoke today following Sunday’s playoff ouster, telling the gathered media that he’d like to spend the rest of his career with the team and that money won’t be an issue, notes Rod Boone of the Charlotte Observer (Twitter link). Jefferson recorded his lowest scoring and rebounding averages in 10 years amid a season marred by injury and a suspension for marijuana use, but Clifford believes the big man can still produce and thinks he looks healthier and more capable than he has in two years (Twitter link).
- Jeremy Lin is enthusiastic about a return, too, saying he’d take a discount to remain in Charlotte and doesn’t care so much about money, Boone relays. Lin has a player option worth more than $2.235MM for next season, but he’d prefer to opt out and sign a long-term deal with the Hornets, having grown tired of moving, as Boone passes along (All five Twitter links here). “I’ve been paid on the lower end and had a blast, and I’ve been paid on the higher end and not enjoyed it at all,” Lin said.
- Marvin Williams planted himself firmly among those who’d like to re-sign, as the Hornets relay (on Twitter). “There’s no question. I want to return,” Williams said. “I’ll let it be known right now this is the most fun I’ve had in a season.”