Nicolas Batum

21 More NBA Players Become Trade-Eligible

Today is Sunday, January 15, which means that nearly two dozen players who signed free agent contracts meeting specific criteria this past offseason are now eligible to be traded.

Most offseason signees became trade-eligible on December 15, but players who met the following criteria were ineligible to be moved for an extra month:

  1. The player re-signed with his previous team.
  2. He got a raise of at least 20%.
  3. His salary is worth more than the minimum.
  4. His team was over the cap and used Bird or Early Bird rights to sign him.

The following players met that criteria and are eligible to be traded as of Sunday:

(* Players marked with an asterisk have the ability to veto trades.)

Most of the players on NBA rosters are now eligible to be moved, though a small handful still can’t be dealt. That group includes Thunder guard Isaiah Joe, who becomes trade-eligible on Monday, Bucks swingman Pat Connaughton (trade-eligible on Wednesday), and Thunder forward Kenrich Williams (trade-eligible on Friday).

There are also several players who won’t become trade-eligible before this season’s February 9 deadline, including Lakers star LeBron James. Players on 10-day contracts are also ineligible to be dealt.

Pacific Notes: Warriors, Klay, Kawhi, Clippers, Kings

The Warriors provided updates (via Twitter) on several injured players on Wednesday evening. Star guard Stephen Curry will have his left shoulder reevaluated on Saturday, which is in line with what the team previously announced.

Starting forward Andrew Wiggins has begun practicing and is ramping up his conditioning after missing the past 14 games due to a strained right adductor and then an illness. He will be reevaluated later this week, per the team.

The Warriors also announced that JaMychal Green (right lower leg infection), Jonathan Kuminga (right foot sprain) and James Wiseman (left ankle sprain) will all be out at least one more week — that’s when they’ll be reevaluated.

Here’s more from the Pacific:

  • Klay Thompson missed two-plus seasons after a couple of major injuries, first a torn ACL in the 2019 NBA Finals, followed by a torn Achilles tendon. On Monday, he scored a season-high 54 points in the Warriors‘ double-overtime victory over the Hawks, a performance he doesn’t take for granted. “It’s a huge accomplishment for me,” Thompson said, per Kendra Andrews of ESPN. “There were some hard days for me when I didn’t know that this would be possible in real time. I am just going to embrace the heck out of it.”
  • After missing Monday’s loss to Miami with a non-COVID illness, Kawhi Leonard is no longer on the Clippers‘ injury report for Thursday’s contest in Denver, tweets Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN. Paul George, who tweaked his hamstring on Monday, is listed as questionable, while Nicolas Batum is out with a left ankle sprain.
  • Can Clippers head coach Tyronn Lue find lineups that work whether or not Leonard and/or George are in the lineup? Law Murray of The Athletic explores that topic, writing that if Lue is unable to optimize the current group, trades could be in order for a team that hopes to compete for a championship.
  • The Kings have three players — Matthew Dellavedova, Chima Moneke and KZ Okpala — on partially guaranteed deals, and none are locks to have their salaries guaranteed for the rest of the season, writes James Ham of It’s possible one or more might be released in the next few days (the deadline to waive partially and non-guaranteed deals before they become fully guaranteed is January 7) in order to create roster flexibility ahead of the trade deadline, according to Ham, who says the Kings figure to be aggressive in their push to break their lengthy playoff drought.

Pacific Notes: Shamet, Payne, Warriors, Batum, Toscano-Anderson

Phoenix has stumbled amid injuries to key players, but two of them are expected to return for Monday’s game in New York, according to Duane Rankin of The Arizona Republic. Landry Shamet and Cameron Payne are both listed as probable for the afternoon contest as the Suns try to shake a slump that has dropped them to seventh in the West.

“I feel good,” said Shamet, who has sat out the past three games with a sore right Achilles. “Training staff took care of me as they always do. I feel good. Body feels good.”   

Payne suffered a strained right foot December 13 and has missed nine games. He was posting career highs with 12.7 points and 5.3 assists per game before the injury, and he enables the Suns to play at a faster tempo when he comes off the bench to replace Chris Paul.

“Pace. Getting into the paint,” Payne said when asked how he can help the team. “Like touching the paint. I feel every time we touch the paint, something good happens and I feel like we got away from that. I feel like getting into the paint and bringing my energy.”   

There’s more from the Pacific Division:

  • The news isn’t as good for the Warriors, who will be without four frontcourt players for Monday’s game against the Hawks, tweets Anthony Slater of The Athletic. Andrew Wiggins remains sidelined with an illness and will miss his 14th straight game since suffering an adductor strain. Also inactive are Jonathan Kuminga (sprained right foot), James Wiseman (sprained left ankle) and JaMychal Green (lower right leg infection).
  • Nicolas Batum‘s goal of playing all 82 games this season ended when he sat out Saturday with a sprained ankle, but the Clippers forward is proud of his durability at age 34, writes Janis Carr of The Orange County Register. Batum credits daily weightlifting sessions, workouts and practices with keeping him in top condition. “If I got some injury stuff, I take care of it,” he said. “I don’t want to miss practice. I haven’t missed practice or shootaround yet this year, so I try to be there as much as possible every time. It’s just the routine I have just to take care of my body to be there for my team.”
  • Lakers players are responding to the challenge LeBron James delivered last week when he said he doesn’t want to “finish my career playing at this level, from a team aspect,” per Kyle Goon of The Orange County Register. “I actually appreciate the pressure, I like the pressure,” Juan Toscano-Anderson said. “I know what championship basketball looks like, I know what high-level basketball looks like. That’s what they expect. … You gotta step up to the plate. It’s a man’s game.”

L.A. Notes: Batum, Kennard, Westbrook, LeBron, Reaves

Veteran wing Nicolas Batum has continued to play a regular role off the bench for the Clippers this season, but he’s not taking it for granted. Before being bought out by Charlotte during the 2020 offseason, Batum had been relegated to a bench role and believed his playing days were nearing an end, writes Andrew Greif of The Los Angeles Times.

“Two years ago, I didn’t think I would be in that spot today still playing major minutes, have a role for a contending team, no,” Batum said. “I was more about retirement.”

Batum quickly caught on with the Clippers in 2020 once he became a free agent and has since signed two new contracts with the team, including a two-year, $22.6MM deal this past summer. Now 34 years old, he doesn’t envision retiring anytime soon.

“After what happened to me in Charlotte I promised myself, especially with the French national team, I’m like … ‘I’m going to do everything so I will retire the way I want,'” Batum said. “That’s the attitude I have now. Going to keep working and I mean, they’re going to have to kick me out. Good luck with that.”

Here are a few more notes on the NBA’s two Los Angeles-based teams:

  • Clippers sharpshooter Luke Kennard is leading the NBA with a career-best .489 3PT%, but is only tied for 106th in the league in three-point makes, since he attempts just 4.2 per game. Janis Carr of The Southern California News Group explores whether Kennard should be more aggressive in seeking out his shot.
  • Lakers guard Russell Westbrook, who has missed the team’s last two games due to left foot soreness, is listed as probable to return on Friday vs. Charlotte, tweets Marc Stein. LeBron James, who sat out Monday’s game in Phoenix with left ankle soreness and returned on Wednesday in Sacramento, has also been designated as probable.
  • Like Westbook, Lakers guard Austin Reaves (right ankle sprain) has been sidelined for the last two games, but he also has a chance to return on Friday. He has been listed as questionable, per Stein.
  • Although Thomas Bryant has played well at center in Anthony Davis‘ stead, the Lakers have no adequate substitute on defense for their injured star, writes Kyle Goon of The Southern California News Group. Since Davis went down last week with a foot injury, the club has the second-worst defensive rating in the NBA (124.5). “We’re already a team without a lot of length and not a lot of size,” James said. “And you lose a 6-11 guy with a 7-6 wingspan, 7-7 wingspan, I mean, it’s self-explanatory, so it’s not like it’s rocket science.”

L.A. Notes: Walker, Lakers, Davis, Clippers, Batum

Lakers swingman Lonnie Walker, who earned a second consecutive start on Wednesday, sustained a “mild” left ankle sprain in the third quarter, per head coach Darvin Ham. Walker will be reevaluated on Thursday, but he’s not experiencing any swelling or overt pain, a source tells Dave McMenamin of ESPN (Twitter link).

The Lakers, having started Walker and Patrick Beverley on Wednesday alongside LeBron James, Anthony Davis, and Russell Westbrook, continue to search for the right starting lineup fit as the preseason winds down, writes Dan Woike of The Los Angeles Times.

“We get an opportunity to throw some stuff at the wall and see what sticks,” Ham said prior to the game. “We already know our three main guys — Russ, Bron, AD. Those guys as well are getting used to playing with one another. That was very limited last year. So we look at it as an opportunity to just shake the rug and just shake things up and see what makes sense once it all starts to come together.”

The Lakers will play one more preseason game on Friday before next Tuesday’s regular season opener.

Here’s more on the NBA’s two Los Angeles teams:

  • Anthony Davis still prefers to play power forward, but is willing to start and finish games at center if that’s what the Lakers and Ham ask of him. I trust Coach’s decision,” Davis said on Wednesday (Twitter link via McMenamin). “I mean, I’m pretty sure he heard AD wants to play the four, so he knows where I stand, but at the end of the day, I want to win, so if that’s me playing the five, that’s what it’s got to be.
  • Clippers head coach Tyronn Lue said he thought going into Wednesday’s game that he knew who would start at point guard, but he’s less certain about that spot after being displeased with how the team opened the game (Twitter link via Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN). Starting point guard Reggie Jackson had just one point in 12 minutes, while John Wall had eight points and four assists in 10 minutes off the bench.
  • In an interview on the French television channel Canal+ (video link), Clippers forward Nicolas Batum spoke about the mental health challenges he has faced during his NBA career, as Johnny Askounis of Eurohoops relays. Batum, whose father died of an aneurysm at age 31, was diagnosed with a heart issue before he entered the NBA and worried about his own health and family. “I was convinced the same would happen to me and that I was going to leave my family,” he said. “I asked my wife to not come to the games because I did want to see them in the stands.”

Clippers Re-Sign Nicolas Batum To Two-Year Contract

JULY 6: The Clippers have officially re-signed Batum, the team announced today in a press release.

“Nico is a selfless vet and a winning player whose intelligence, versatility and skill have lifted our team for the past two years,” president of basketball operations Lawrence Frank said in a statement. “We wanted to keep building with him and are honored he wanted the same.”

JUNE 30: Veteran Clippers forward Nicolas Batum has agreed to return to Los Angeles on a two-season, $22MM contract, according to Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports.

After being selected with the No. 25 pick in 2008, Batum first established himself as a switchable, reliable 3-and-D wing with the Trail Blazers. After becoming a full-time starter on multiple Portland playoff teams, Batum was eventually traded to the Hornets in 2015.

Following a lackluster run with the Hornets on a lucrative five-year, $120MM deal, Batum was waived by Charlotte ahead of the 2020/21 season, which would have been the final year on his deal. Batum joined the Clippers on a minimum contract in 2020, and promptly rebuilt his NBA value as a solid forward on both ends of the floor, capable of playing either small or power forward.

During the 2021/22 season, Batum averaged 8.3 PPG, 4.3 RPG, 1.7 APG, 1.0 SPG and 0.7 BPG for the Clippers across 59 games, including 54 starts. He posted a shooting line of .463/.400/.658. Batum declined a $3.3MM player option with L.A. ahead of the start of free agency today.

Los Angeles is gearing up for an anticipated deep playoff run, with All-Star wings Kawhi Leonard and Paul George both projected to be healthy during the 2022/23 season. In addition to bringing back 33-year-old Batum, the Clippers also are set to add 31-year-old former five-time All-Star John Wall to a team-friendly contract as they shore up veteran depth.

The Clippers are re-signing Batum using the Early Bird exception, which requires the deal to be for at least two years, with no options.

Heat Rumors: Tucker, Portis, Lowry, Crowder

Heat players are reportedly lobbying free agent forward P.J. Tucker to remain with the team, according to Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald, who says All-Star wing Jimmy Butler, in particular, is “very much hoping” Tucker returns to Miami.

However, James Harden‘s decision to opt out of a $47MM+ salary for next season and likely sign a new deal starting at a lower number is the latest indication that the Sixers are a serious threat to lure Tucker to Philadelphia. Harden’s move clears a path for Philadelphia to offer its full mid-level exception to Tucker.

If Tucker does leave, the Heat will be in the market for a power forward, and T.J. Warren, Kyle Anderson, Thaddeus Young, and Nicolas Batum will be among the free agents on their radar, Jackson writes. A Wednesday report indicated the club would likely also have interest in Danilo Gallinari if he’s waived after being traded by San Antonio.

Here’s more on the Heat:

  • Jackson hears from a source that Miami would be a team that appeals to Bobby Portis if he decides to leave Milwaukee. But Portis is considered likely to stick with the Bucks, while the Heat are reluctant to hard-cap themselves for the season by giving their full mid-level exception to a free agent, so it’s an unlikely match.
  • Jackson also hears that Kyle Lowry wasn’t upset by Pat Riley‘s end-of-season comments about how his conditioning must improve. The Heat have assured Lowry they have no intention of trading him in a deal for Kyrie Irving, Jackson adds.
  • After saying that the Heat had emerged as the frontrunners to trade for Suns forward Jae Crowder, John Gambadoro of Arizona Sports 98.7 (Twitter links) walked back that report. As Gambadoro explains, he can’t see Phoenix taking on Duncan Robinson‘s contract, and the Heat don’t have any other obvious salary-matching pieces they’d include in an offer for Crowder.

Otto Porter, Gary Harris, T.J. Warren Among Lakers’ Potential FA Targets

The Lakers‘ options on the free agent market this week will likely be limited, since the team will only be able to offer the $6.5MM taxpayer mid-level exception or a minimum-salary contract to potential targets. However, as Jovan Buha of The Athletic writes, the team will still aim high, hoping to sell players on the opportunity to start and the ability to increase their stock with a strong year in Los Angeles, like Malik Monk did in 2021/22.

According to Buha, youth, length, athleticism, and shooting are among the traits the Lakers will be prioritizing. Two-way wings who could come in and potentially start alongside Anthony Davis, LeBron James, and Russell Westbrook will be a priority, sources tell The Athletic.

Here are some details on the types of players the Lakers will be eyeing in free agency:

Free Agent Rumors: Ayton, Batum, Hartenstein, Clippers, Wizards

There has been no progress between the Suns and Deandre Ayton on a new contract, and a sign-and-trade appears to be the most likely outcome, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski said on Sports Center (video link).

Ayton is a restricted free agent, giving Phoenix the opportunity to match any offer he receives, but that’s unlikely to happen, according to Woj. He explains that the Suns don’t value Ayton as a max contract player, but other teams do, which means that’s what he’ll likely receive when free agency begins Thursday afternoon.

Although he doesn’t mention any specific teams, Wojnarowski cites “several” potential destinations for Ayton on a max deal, with the Suns receiving some combination of players, draft picks and cap flexibility in return.

There’s more on the free agent market:

  • With Ivica Zubac‘s extension and an expected deal with John Wall out of the way, re-signing Nicolas Batum will be a priority for the Clippers, writes Andrew Greif of The Los Angeles Times. Greif notes that Batum is very loyal to the organization and has turned down offers from other teams over the past two years to stay in L.A.
  • Jay Scrubb and Xavier Moon will likely compete for a two-way contract if the Clippers decide to re-sign them, Greif adds in the same piece. The team plans to give one of its two-way slots to second-round pick Moussa Diabate.
  • The Rockets have interest in bringing back free agent center Isaiah Hartenstein, according to Kelly Iko of The Athletic. Iko notes that Hartenstein, who started his career in Houston in 2018, is only 24 and fits well with the team’s current roster.
  • Kris Dunn and Pierriá Henry attended a Wizards mini-camp this week in hopes of winning a roster spot on a team searching for point guards, per Josh Robbins of The Athletic. Henry is an accomplished player in the EuroLeague, while Dunn, a lottery pick in 2016, is hoping to prove that he’s healthy after missing most of the past two seasons with injuries. “I feel like over the last two years, I didn’t have a leg, almost,” Dunn said. “Over the last couple of months, I’ve been doing a lot of rehab, and everything’s starting to work out perfectly.”

Suns Rumors: Crowder, Ayton, Draft, Johnson, Batum

The Suns have made calls to rival teams in an effort to gauge Jae Crowder‘s value on the trade market, according to Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report.

Crowder, who will turn 32 in July, will earn $10.18MM in 2022/23 before becoming eligible for unrestricted free agency next summer. The veteran forward has played his usual three-and-D role in Phoenix for the last two seasons, averaging 9.7 PPG and 5.0 RPG with a .369 3PT% in 127 games (27.8 MPG) during that time. He would likely have positive value as a trade chip, though he wouldn’t command a massive return.

Fischer also reports that Suns officials have been conveying to teams and “other external league personnel” that they’re open to matching a maximum-salary offer sheet for Deandre Ayton, despite persistent rumors that they’d prefer not to pay him the max (including a report from Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN on Wednesday).

Rival suitors interested in Ayton will have to determine whether they believe the Suns would match a max offer sheet — if they do, negotiating a sign-and-trade deal would be the most logical path to getting the former No. 1 overall pick out of Phoenix.

Here’s more on the Suns:

  • Phoenix is believed to be in the market for a second-round pick in today’s draft, according to Fischer.
  • John Gambadoro of Arizona Sports 98.7 throws cold water on some recent rumors related to the Suns, reporting (via Twitter) that Phoenix has no interest in trading Cameron Johnson in a deal for the No. 8 overall pick and adding (via Twitter) that he also doesn’t expect the team to have serious interest in free agent forward Nicolas Batum or Knicks wing Cam Reddish.
  • In a fascinating Insider-only article for, Kevin Arnovitz takes a look at how differently the Suns approach scouting and the draft compared to other NBA teams. According to Arnovitz, Phoenix hasn’t even completed a draft board ranking prospects for the past three years. “Our draft board would be a mockery to other teams,” senior analyst of personnel and team evaluation Zach Amundson told ESPN. “By the time we were done, we had only five to seven guys on our draft board.”
  • As Arnovitz outlines, the Suns’ unorthodox evaluation strategy played a part in their decision to draft Johnson 11th overall in 2019 after trading down from No. 6. At the time, the pick was widely panned and considered a reach. “We were prepared to take him sixth if we had to,” VP of basketball strategy and evaluation Ryan Resch told ESPN.