Appearing on the French online show First Team, veteran forward Nicolas Batum was asked about his future and suggested that he plans to remain with the Clippers for the foreseeable future, as Tomer Azarly of ClutchPoints relays. Batum, speaking in French, said what translates to “Tyronn Lue saved my life,” heaping praise on the Clippers’ head coach.
Batum, who has a $3.33MM player option for the 2022/23 season, was waived by Charlotte during the 2020 offseason and signed a minimum-salary contract days later with the Clippers. He has revitalized his career in the last two years in Los Angeles, starting 92 of 126 games and averaging 26.2 MPG.
“Whenever you have a player speak on you like that, it’s a great feeling because that’s what it’s all about,” Lue told Azarly when asked about Batum’s comments. “It’s about the players and trying to get the best out of players. A lot of times, the players bring the best out of a coach as well. For Nico, a guy who has been in this league for a long time and a great veteran player, just to have him say those words, that means a lot.”
Here’s more from around the Pacific:
- John Gambadoro of Arizona Sports 98.7 (Twitter link) considers it extremely unlikely that the Suns will let restricted free agent Deandre Ayton walk for nothing or that Ayton will accept his one-year qualifying offer. In Gambadoro’s view, a new deal between Ayton and the Suns, a sign-and-trade agreement, or an offer sheet that the Suns match are the only realistic outcomes.
- Gary Payton II (fractured left elbow) is beginning to increase his on-court activity, according to Anthony Slater of The Athletic, who posted a Twitter video of Payton going through a workout on Tuesday. Assuming the Warriors finish off Dallas, it still seems possible Payton could return at some point in the NBA Finals, Slater adds.
- Trevion Williams (Purdue), JD Notae (Arkansas), Tyson Etienne (Wichita State), and David McCormack (Kansas) are among the prospects that worked out for the Kings on Monday and Tuesday this week, writes Jason Anderson of The Sacramento Bee. Anderson wonders if the Kings could end up drafting two Boilermakers, with Jaden Ivey in play at No. 4 and Williams a potential target in the second round.
- Dan Woike and Broderick Turner of The Los Angeles Times take a closer look at Darvin Ham, Terry Stotts, and Kenny Atkinson, breaking down the pros and cons of each of the Lakers’ reported head coaching finalists.