Nicolas Batum Apologizes To Hornets

Nicolas Batum isn’t hiding from the fact that he hasn’t lived up to his contract, writes Scott Fowler of The Charlotte Observer.

The five-year, $120MM deal Batum signed in the summer of 2016 remains the largest ever given out by the Hornets. After putting up decent numbers during the past three years, he lost his starting job this season and has been stuck on the end of the bench as Charlotte opted for a youth movement.

“I apologize to the people here,” he said, “because they put so much faith in me. And it didn’t go well… . It didn’t work out. But what do I have to do? Because I’m still here.”

Batum has appeared in 22 games this season, but head coach James Borrego didn’t use him at all in February. The last time he saw the court was in a January 24 game played in his native France.

Fowler points out that Batum remains a supportive member of the team and is serving as a mentor to a roster filled with first- and second-year players. As a veteran, he has interceded with officials on behalf of his teammates and estimates he has saved the Hornets from about a half-dozen technical fouls.

“I don’t want to be selfish,” Batum said. “… I don’t want to be that guy who’s like, ‘OK, let’s go out tonight. Coach sucks. Don’t show up. You shoot 25 times a game; don’t listen to him.’ No. I won’t do that. I don’t need that. They don’t need that.”

At age 31, Batum figures to remain in a teaching role through the end of next season. He has another year left on his contract, and his $27.13MM salary makes him nearly impossible to trade. Although the Hornets appear headed to their fourth straight year out of the playoffs, Batum believes the young core will get there soon.

“This franchise has got a bright future,” he said, “but I don’t think I’ll be part of it.”

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30 thoughts on “Nicolas Batum Apologizes To Hornets

  1. 13Morgs13
    13Morgs13

    Come on. People the ink dried. Everyone said that was a awful deal. He was never much more then a role player.

    • Jason Lancaster

      Disagree 100%. Batum was excellent in the 2013-2014 season, and his follow-up to that season (the one just before Charlotte signed him) was good…not as good as the previous year, but the contract was for the guy they saw light it up in Portland.

      In 2013-14, Batum was ranked 14th in VORP, and 20th in BPM. He was maybe the 10th best forward in the league? Portland traded him to Charlotte, and then the Hornets offered him a big contract, but not crazy…Dallas offered him $114 million the same summer he signed with Charlotte.

      And it’s not like Charlotte is a free agency destination.

      Basically, you’re completely wrong my friend.

      • 13Morgs13
        13Morgs13

        His whole career is pretty much summed up as a role player. We will agree to disagree.

        • Jason Lancaster

          I mean…go look at the stats on basketball-reference. He was averaging 13pts, 8 rebounds, and 5 assists, AND playing excellent defense in that golden year in Portland. He got hurt the next year, then averaged 15-6-6 in the 15/16 season. That’s excellent. Not a lot of guys did that back then or now.

          • Gene Kim

            You’re literally describing a role player…

            Sure Batum was considered a nice 3 & D wing with the ability to make passes but… let’s be real those are role playing numbers.

            • x%sure

              That was the thing, passing. He was a 3 that could average 6 a game, and did. His D got strong and he looked good & rising.
              Just, that summer of ’16. 5/120, another inflated contract, and for whatever reason, the Hornets did not go anywhere.

          • Michael Chaney

            At worst, his peak was that of a role player. At best, he was a solid starter and glue guy.

            The Hornets weren’t dumb for wanting a guy like that around their team. The Hornets WERE dumb for paying a guy like that All-Star money.

            You’re saying that maybe he actually was more than a role player, but that’s never a discussion you should be having about a guy you gave $120 million to.

            • x%sure

              If you want a “good young player”, like everyone says they want, then you have to predict. Prediction is risky. I notice even in an anonymous comment section, that many posters refuse to do it.

              If you wait until a player has proven value to try to acquire him, then it’s probably too late to get him. Or, he ages out, and you’re left paying semi-dead salary at the end. This has a reputation for having happened a lot for NY teams… The place people go to when they’ve made it. A Leon Rose place. Nowadays NY fans are into building with… good young players! I think to excess.

              I don’t recall if I thought the Batum choice wise… but the dollar amounts being thrown around would have spooked me from following it. It was certainly beyond what the Cavs could afford! They were just trying to retain the title roster.

              • x%sure

                The Cavs could actually use a cheap Batum next year, defense & passing at the 3, but he seems to be declining at 30/31 yo.

  2. phillyballers

    Hornets have no one to blame but themselves. And they could have dumped him. They don’t want to give up picks and held on to Tony Montana.

    Insert the meme…
    Hornets: Batum is a Max Player.
    Literally No One:

  3. Treveon Graham

    Nic was one of my favorite teammates when I played those 2 years in Charlotte

  4. Jason Lancaster

    Batum was a key player for the Blazers back in the day, and they traded him because they thought Aldridge was going to leave in the summer after the trade (Aldridge did). Trading Batum netted Vonleh (a promising young big back then) and Gerald Henderson (a solid player, but not Batum).

    I remember thinking it was a bad trade, as Batum could do everything. But then Batum struggled in Charlotte, got hurt, and fell off. It happens.

    I think it’s admirable that he apologized, but I don’t think he needs to. He was excellent in Portland, which is why Charlotte traded for him, and why Dallas offered him $114 million when he was a free agent. It’s not his fault he got hurt.

  5. 704nomore

    The Batum contract was a huge mistake but the Hornets also draft horribly as well ,is this the same team that picked Kaminsky over Harrell a Carolina native? Who looked awesome in the nba combine that year an has developed into a force they also thought Monk was better than Donavan Mitchell the Hornets need help negotiating deals @ evaluating talent

    • hiflew

      Almost everyone had Monk rated ahead of Mitchell during that draft. Most people expected Monk to go even higher.

      Mitchell’s breakout was mostly a cause of the perfect opportunity for him in Utah. They needed someone to score and he got the chance to shine. If he was drafted elsewhere, he very easily could still be shuttling back and forth to the G League.

      • phillyballers

        Yea. Monk fell. He was projected Top-5/6. Utes gave Mitchell the JR Smith green light treatment, go chuck it son. Would have done the same on any terrible team tho.

  6. 704nomore

    If you really mean it Batum play for free next year or give back a portion of your unfulfilled contract/worstdealeva

  7. 704nomore

    How sorry are u ? If you really mean it Batum play for free next year or give back a portion of your unfulfilled contract/worstdealeva

    • Theone23

      Yeah I don’t think you understand how these things work. Batum really doesn’t even have anything to apologize for, there was an agreement made on both sides and one side didn’t perform up to expectations. It happens. Its not the worst contract ever. Really does show you what kind of person Nic is though, to even feel like he should render an apology in the first place.

  8. Skip, Tampa

    It was nice of him to put that statement out there.
    Nobody with any sense is going to give up $25M.
    Not me for sure.
    Alot of big contracts were handed out then. He was just lucky enough to have hit a winning lottery ticket.
    He may take a $20M buyout on last day this year on a 5 year stretch at $4M each.
    Win / Win for everyone.

    • Theone23

      I would hardly call it a lotto ticket, the man had skill and talent and worked hard his entire life to land that contract.

  9. spinach

    Batum that year was one of the free agents I have felt best about over the past ten years, thought whoever got him on a huge contract would be pretty lucky, even if a more modest contract would suit him better. Iguodala got what from the Warriors, 4/$48m? Of course you’d rather pay Iguodala or Batum (elite role players at their best) 4/$48m rather than 5/$120m, but you take either at the latter if you can’t get him at the former as long as contract doesn’t prevent you from making huge, no-brainer moves which it didn’t because no great players are trying to play with Charlotte. (One could suggest the Batum deal impeded them from offering Walker a max contract, but they still could have; they just didn’t want to.)

  10. Was the contract bad? Yes.

    Was it anywhere close to the worst contract in 16? Absolutely not. See Mozgov, Solomon Hill, Mahinmi, etc. At least Batum was semi-productive for a couple years.

    Don’t apologize, Batum. YOLO.

    • jobbins

      You named 3 guys that have been traded multiple times since which would mean that their contracts were NOT as bad as Batum’s. It’s a hindsight thing, but he has been a worse contract than those named.

      • x%sure

        Or conclude the opposite… Being traded 3 times is less optimal. It was always for another bad contract. It’s just easier to match a bad contract in a lower price range; and, Batum still had merit until last season.

    • redbeard87

      Batum’s deal is almost double the amount of every guy you listed. That makes it much, much worse than those contracts.

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