OCTOBER 24: Batum is expected to be sidelined for approximately three or four weeks, league sources tell Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports (Twitter link).
OCTOBER 23: Hornets forward Nicolas Batum suffered a broken finger on his left hand during tonight’s season opener, tweets Shams Charania of The Athletic. The fracture is located at the base of the middle finger, according to Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer (Twitter link). The team hasn’t set an estimate for how much time he might miss.
Batum came off the bench in tonight’s game, playing 11 minutes before the injury. He grabbed four rebounds and handed out two assists, but didn’t attempt a shot.
Charlotte’s highest-paid player at more than $25.5MM, Batum has accepted a reserve role as the Hornets are launching a youth movement after losing star guard Kemba Walker in free agency. Bonnell notes that five of the team’s top seven salaries are not part of the starting lineup (Twitter link). Batum talked to coach James Borrego this week about his role on the team and said he doesn’t mind coming off the bench, tweets Rod Boone of The Athletic.
Batum is in the fourth season of a five-year, $120MM deal he signed with the Hornets in 2016. He has a $27.13MM player option for next season that he is virtually certain to pick up, considering his market value. Batum averaged 9.3 PPG in 75 games last season, his worst scoring numbers since his rookie year.