Hornets To Waive-And-Stretch Nicolas Batum

The Hornets will waive and stretch the final year of Nicolas Batum‘s contract in order to create the cap room necessary to sign Gordon Hayward, reports Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer.

[RELATED: Hornets, Gordon Hayward Agree To Four-Year Deal]

Batum, who will turn 32 next month, is entering the final season of the five-year, $120MM contract he signed back in 2016. His cap hit for 2020/21 is approximately $27.13MM, but the Hornets can stretch that amount across three seasons at $9.04MM annually, opening up more than $18MM in cap room for 2020/21.

That newly-opened amount will be more than enough to complete the Hayward signing, as Charlotte entered the day with about $19MM in space. The team should have some room left over for an additional move or two, though it will now have to deal with $9MM+ in dead money on the cap for 2021/22 and ’22/23 as well.

Batum was excised from the Hornets’ rotation this past season, appearing in just 22 games (23.0 MPG) and playing poorly in his limited time, with 3.6 PPG, 4.5 RPG, and 3.0 APG on .346/.286/.900 shooting.

Although he’s coming off a down year and has long been viewed as an unfavorable asset as a result of his oversized contract, Batum might be an interesting minimum-salary target in free agency once he clears waivers.

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