Search Results for: batum

Hornets Notes: Batum, Ball, Graham, Turner, Washington

Nicolas Batum found out the Hornets had released him in November on social media, according to Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer. “I found out on Twitter, like everybody else,” Batum said. The veteran forward was let go to clear cap space for Gordon Hayward. Charlotte elected to use the stretch provision, spreading Batum’s $27.1MM cap hit over three seasons. The Hornets declined to comment on how they handled Batum’s departure.

We have more on the Hornets:

  • LaMelo Ball played 57 percent of the season before he injured his wrist, so he’s still likely to win the Rookie of the Year award, Sam Vecenie of The Athletic writes. Only strong finishes by either Anthony Edwards or Tyrese Haliburton would jeopardize his hold on the award.
  • The Hornets have a tricky decision on Devonte’ Graham in the aftermath of Ball’s injury, but they would still be wise to deal the restricted free agent, Vecenie opines in the same piece. Graham will never have more value than he has now, due to his $1.6MM salary, which makes him an option for any team interested in him. He could be an impact player for a contender, which would gain control over him this summer due to his RFA status.
  • Charlotte has long been interested in the Pacers’ Myles Turner and Indiana asked for P.J. Washington as part of a potential package prior to the season, J. Michael of the Indianapolis Star tweets.
  • With an open roster spot and up to $4.1MM in cap space, GM Mitch Kupchak needs to add a big man to the roster, Bonnell tweets. Charlotte has left a roster spot open throughout the season.

Pacific Notes: James, Lakers, Batum, Warriors

How much longer does LeBron James want to keep playing? Long enough to make history by playing with his son Bronny, Mark Medina of USA Today tweets. “That’s definitely one of my goals, but that’s a long-term goal,” The Lakers‘ star said. “My son right now is in high school and enjoying what being a teenager is all about. But that would be pretty cool to go on my resume.” Bronny, 16, attends Sierra Canyon in Chatsworth, Calif. and recently had surgery to repair torn meniscus.

We have more from the Pacific Division:

  • The Lakers are unlikely to find help via a trade due to salary-cap restrictions and the fact that their best trade pieces are rotation players, Jovan Buha of The Athletic opines. The team could use help at backup center, as well as a large wing with 3-point ability. Their best place to find that would be in the buyout market, with Andre Drummond, P.J. Tucker and Trevor Ariza as possibilities. The Lakers’ reported interest in Drummond was already noted here.
  • Nicolas Batum was looking to redeem himself after his career went sour in Charlotte. The Clippers entered the season seeking redemption after an abrupt dismissal from the postseason. That’s one of the reasons Batum decided to sign with the team, as Andrew Greif of the Los Angeles Times details. Batum is averaging 9.0 PPG, 4.8 RPG and 2.4 APG in 35 starts this season. He’s on a one-year, veteran’s minimum deal and will re-enter the free agent market this summer.
  • The Warriors would be better off building toward next season rather than making moves to collect more victories this season, Tim Kawakami of The Athletic argues. There’s no reason to use their $9.2MM disabled player exception, especially with the luxury-tax implications it would bring. The better course of action would to give lottery pick James Wiseman ample playing time and wait for the loaded draft.

And-Ones: ‘Melo, Batum, Hield

Carmelo Anthony wasn’t at the Knicks triangle seminar this week after all, according to Marc Berman of the New York Post and Frank Isola of the New York Daily News, despite an earlier report that he was. Some say the seminar was mandatory and others called it voluntary, Isola hears, adding that one player said team president Phil Jackson only invited a few Knicks. Anthony is believed to be receiving therapy on his left knee, Berman writes, and the triangle sessions were mostly review, a source told the Post scribe, who downplays the significance of ‘Melo’s absence. Still, 10 other Knicks took part, Berman hears, including Kristaps Porzingis, who’s recovering from a shoulder strain and recently had a routine visit at the Hospital for Special Surgery, notes Ian Begley of (ESPN Now link). The other attendees, according to Berman, were Jerian Grant, Cleanthony Early, Langston Galloway, Tony WrotenSasha Vujacic, Jose Calderon, Robin Lopez, Kyle O’Quinn and Kevin Seraphin.

See more from around the NBA:

  • Nicolas Batum isn’t definitively out for the rest of the Hornets‘ first-round series against Miami, tweets Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer, dispelling an earlier report, but he’s unlikely to return unless it goes at least six games, Bonnell says. Batum is poised for free agency this summer.
  • Indiana freshman small forward OG Anunoby won’t enter this year’s draft, the school announced (Twitter link). He was a late second-round prospect for this year, according to Chad Ford of, who ranks him the 50th, but the 6’8″ 18-year-old has first-round potential for next year, as Jonathan Givony of DraftExpress slots him 20th in his 2017 mock draft. Anunoby saw limited action this season, putting up 4.9 points in 13.7 minutes per game.
  • Long-shot draft prospect Moustapha Diagne will enter this year’s draft, but he’ll do so without an agent so he can retain his college eligibility, a source told Jon Rothstein of (Twitter link). The 6’8″ 20-year-old from Northwest Florida State, a community college, is a former Syracuse commit, Rothstein notes, and he was 68th in the Recruiting Services Consensus Index coming out of high school last year. Neither Ford nor Givony ranks him among the top 100 draft prospects.
  • Top-10 prospect and former Oklahoma shooting guard Buddy Hield has signed with agent Rob Pelinka of Landmark Sports, a source told Darren Rovell of (ESPN Now link).

And-Ones: Batum, Mavs, Celtics

Although he was initially shocked by the June trade that sent him from the Blazers to the Hornets, Nicolas Batum said he has embraced his new role with his new team and doesn’t harbor any ill will toward Portland, Jason Quick of details. Batum, who was with Portland for seven seasons, scored 33 points Sunday in the Hornets’ win against the Blazers. “Why should I be angry? It wasn’t an anger game,” Batum said. “I respect them so much. They gave me my chance, when I was a rookie, 19 years old. They trade me because they think it’s the right thing to do, and I understand that. So now, I move on.’’

Here’s more from around the basketball world:

  • Dwight Powell and Raymond Felton were both “throw-ins” who helped the Mavs acquire Rajon Rondo and Tyson Chandler in respective deals, but it’s Powell and Felton who are still with Dallas and playing as if they were the cornerstones of the trades, Eddie Sefko of the Dallas Morning News opines. Felton has started several games this season and Powell is averaging 10.9 points and 8.1 rebounds per game, Sefko adds.
  • The Celtics have moved rookies Terry Rozier and Jordan Mickey along with 2014 first-rounder James Young back and forth from the D-League as a way to get the young players more experience, Gary Washburn of the Boston Globe examines. The assignments should not be considered demotions, Washburn writes, because it is the team’s way of tutoring these players. While Boston’s young players are racking up minutes in the D-League, other rookies around the league are just riding the bench, Washburn adds.
  • Tara Greco resigned this week from her role as NBPA communications director, Jeff Zillgitt of USA Today Sports reports (via Twitter).

And-Ones: Batum, Booker, Milutinov

A change that would allow underclassmen greater capacity to return to school after declaring for the draft would indeed take effect for next year if the NCAA approves the proposal in January, as Dan Guerrero, chairman of the NCAA men’s basketball oversight committee, said to Andy Katz of The committee lent its sponsorship to the measure Wednesday, and a formal vote on adoption is to take place in January, according to Katz.

Here’s more from around the league:

  • The Hawks have discussed moving up from the No. 15 overall pick in the draft with a number of teams, including the Pacers, who sit at No. 11, Alex Kennedy of Basketball Insiders relays (via Twitter). A number of executives around the league believe that Atlanta is trying to land Wisconsin big man Frank Kaminsky, Kennedy adds. Kaminsky is a draft possibility for the Hornets (No. 9), Heat (No. 10), and the Jazz (No. 12), which could complicate the Hawks’ designs on snagging the talented shooter.
  • Speaking about newly acquired swingman Nicolas Batum, Hornets GM Rich Cho said, “He is a quality defender and a solid outside shooter who brings versatility and playoff experience,” Mike Tokito of The Oregonian tweets. Batum’s deal includes a trade bonus that will lift his cap hit by about $890K for the 2014/15 campaign and approximately $890K again for 2015/16, Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders notes (Twitter links). The Blazers also end up with a trade exception, according to Pincus, worth $3,241,300.
  • Many executives around the NBA believe that Kentucky guard Devin Booker is the player in this year’s NBA Draft who could benefit the most from significant time spent in the D-League during his rookie campaign, Keith Schlosser of SBNation writes. While Booker is regarded as the best pure shooter in this year’s draft, a large number of NBA and D-League executives believe that Booker could stand to improve his agility, quickness, and instincts on both ends of the floor, Schlosser adds.
  • Serbian big man Nikola Milutinov is climbing up the draft boards and could possibly be selected in the first round, Marc Stein of relays (on Twitter). It’s doubtful that the Spurs would be the team to select the seven-footer, a league source informed Dan McCarney of The San Antonio Express-News tweets. San Antonio currently owns the No. 26 overall pick.

Chuck Myron contributed to this post.

Hornets Acquire Nicolas Batum

8:09pm: The trade is official, the Blazers announced. “Nic Batum was a key contributor to all of our recent success,” said Blazers executive Neil Olshey. “He will truly be missed as a person and a player. We wish Nic all the best for the future.”

6:08 pm: The Blazers and Hornets are finalizing a deal that would send Nicolas Batum to Charlotte in exchange for Noah Vonleh and Gerald Henderson, Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports reports (Twitter link). The Yahoo! scribe had reported earlier today that the Hornets were seeking to acquire a wing player in advance of the NBA Draft, but Wojnarowski had relayed that the team was aggressively shopping big man Cody Zeller.

Courtesy of USA Today Sports Images

Courtesy of USA Today Sports Images

Batum, 26, certainly can be considered an upgrade for Charlotte, despite him coming off a subpar 2014/15 campaign. He appeared in 71 contests for the Blazers, averaging 9.4 points, 5.9 rebounds, and 4.8 assists. His career numbers are 11.2 PPG, 5.1 RPG, and 4.8 APG, with a slash line of .446/.363/.834. Batum is set to earn $12,235,750 for the 2015/16 season, and that amount is fully guaranteed.

It’s a bit of a surprise that the Hornets would deal away Vonleh, the team’s lottery selection of a year ago. The 19-year-old only appeared in 25 contests for the Hornets after getting off to late start due to a preseason sports hernia injury. The immediate conclusion would be that Vonleh was acquired by the Blazers to protect themselves in the event that unrestricted free agent LaMarcus Aldridge departs this offseason, but the deal was made with Aldridge’s knowledge, and was done independently of his free agent decision, Wojnarowski tweets. Vonleh averaged 3.3 points and 3.4 rebounds in 10.4 minutes per contest this past season, and is set to earn $2,637,720 in 2015/16.

Henderson, 27, recently picked up his $6MM player option for next season, and is set to become an unrestricted free agent next summer. He appeared in 80 games for Charlotte during the 2014/15 campaign, and averaged 12.1 points, 3.4 rebounds, and 2.6 assists in 28.9 minutes per contest. His shooting numbers last season were .437/.331/.848.

Hornets Notes: Drummond, Draft, Batum

The Pistons‘ asking price for Andre Drummond would have to be pretty low for the Hornets to trade for the center, Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer contends. The scribe believes that Charlotte shouldn’t part with young players or serious draft capital to acquire Drummond in part, because of the risk that he would just leave next summer in free agency.

Here’s more from Charlotte:

  • In the same piece, Bonnell argues that the Hornets shouldn’t worry about tanking or making strategic moves to secure a better chance at a high pick in the lottery. Charlotte has several young pieces and it’s more important to develop them — if the team wins a few more games as a result, so be it.
  • Nicolas Batum has a massive contract ($25.5MM this season) and surely, it’s player-friendly but that doesn’t mean the wing doesn’t have value to the Hornets, Bonnell writes in a separate piece. Teammate Marvin Williams believes Batum is the most versatile player on the roster. “On both ends he has always brought a calm and a steadiness to our team, as long as he has been here,” Williams said. “He is so reliable at making plays other guys just can’t make.”
  • Batum’s deal has two seasons left on it and it’s unlikely that the Hornets trade him before the contract expires, Bonnell adds in that same piece. The wing will make $27.1MM next season, assuming he picks up his player option.

Hornets Notes: Graham, Rozier, Batum

As Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer notes, Hornets president of basketball operations Mitch Kupchak has talked in recent months about the team’s top priority being retaining young talent, rather than going out and signing veteran free agents. In the early going this season, second-year point guard Devonte’ Graham has emerged as the sort of player worth investing in, with averages of 18.0 PPG and 7.3 APG through 11 games.

If the Hornets do want to lock up Graham, they’ll have to wait to do so, writes Bonnell. Non-rookie-scale contracts can’t be extended until at least two years after they were signed, so Graham won’t become extension-eligible until next July, when he enters the final year of his current deal.

At that time, the Hornets would be able to offer him a four-year extension with a starting salary worth up to 120% of the NBA’s estimated average salary. A similar extension going into effect in 2020/21 would be worth approximately $51.4MM over four years, but that figure will be a little higher in 2021/22. It will be interesting to see over the course of this season whether Graham continues to prove he’s worth that sort of commitment.

Here’s more on the Hornets:

  • Graham’s early-season success has overshadowed Terry Rozier‘s first few weeks as a Hornet, but the team’s big offseason acquisition had his best game on Wednesday, matching his career high with 33 points. In a separate article for The Charlotte Observer, Bonnell takes a look at how Rozier can help the Hornets, and how the team might best utilize him and Graham together.
  • In his latest mailbag for The Observer, Bonnell tackles a handful of Hornets-related topics, exploring Dwayne Bacon‘s slow start, whether Charlotte should pursue a third point guard, and whether it was ultimately in the franchise’s best interests to move on from Kemba Walker.
  • Veteran forward Nicolas Batum, who has been out since opening night with a broken finger, fully participated in practice today and told reporters that he hopes to return on the Hornets’ upcoming four-game road trip (Twitter link). That trip begins on Saturday in New York and ends next Friday in Washington.

California Notes: Kawhi, Matthews, Batum, Wiggins

Clippers All-Star wing Kawhi Leonard is making a concerted effort to be a more vocal leader this season, as Mirjam Swanson of the Orange County Register details. His new teammate Serge Ibaka, who won a title with Leonard in 2019 when both were with the Raptors, encouraged Leonard to do this when he arrived to LA this season.

“Leaders need not only to come on the court and score 30 points. You have to show the team, your teammates, like you’re willing to give everything for them,” Ibaka said of the All-NBA Clippers forward. “And so far, he’s been doing a great job of that. He’s been communicating with everybody… this is something really new I see from Kawhi.”

There’s more out of California:

  • New Lakers wing Wesley Matthews, a longtime starter in the NBA, is adjusting to his new role coming off the bench, according to Kyle Goon of the Orange County Register. “We don’t worry about Wes,” head coach Frank Vogel said. “He’s a knockdown shooter and a great defender. Just excited that he’s in a Lakers uniform and what kind of things he’s gonna give us throughout the year.”
  • With newly-extended Clippers forward Marcus Morris out of commission due to a sore right knee, veteran offseason addition Nicolas Batum has comfortably slid into his starting power forward role, per Mirjam Swanson of the Orange County Register. Batum is averaging 27.5 MPG, 6.8 PPG, 6.8 RPG and 3.5 APG for Los Angeles.
  • Warriors swingman Andrew Wiggins has vastly improved his pick-and-roll output this season, writes Zach Harper of The Athletic. He is producing 116.7 points per 100 possessions as a pick-and-roll scorer thus far in 2020/21.

Pacific Notes: Batum, Kerr, Wiseman, LeBron

Nicolas Batum wasn’t around for the Clippers‘ meltdown in last season’s playoffs, but he can tell there’s something different about this year’s version of the team, writes Andrew Greif of The Los Angeles Times. L.A. has been able to battle through adversity after building big leads in a pair of early-season wins.

Friday night in Denver, the Clippers saw a 21-point lead cut to 11 midway through the fourth quarter when Kawhi Leonard left the game after taking an elbow to the face. Batum drew a charge on the next play and L.A. kept its composure to secure the win.

“This is where in those moments, you breathe in (as) a team, you guys can get to know who you are as a team,” Batum said. “… We make stops, we didn’t panic, we didn’t do crazy stuff, we didn’t rush. We did a little bit sometimes. That’s what guys corrected because we made bad turnovers and took quick shots, but overall, that was better.”

There’s more from the Pacific Division:

  • The Warriors may not have the roster to succeed with coach Steve Kerr‘s regular offense, observes Anthony Slater of The Athletic. Stephen Curry leads Golden State in assists through two games with 16, but reserve guard Brad Wanamaker is the only other Warrior with at least five. Slater notes that the team doesn’t have the collection of instinctive passers and cutters that it did in recent years. “I’ve got to stay on them and continue to work, find ways to get better organized and look like a five-man unit,” Kerr said after Friday’s blowout loss in Milwaukee. “We’re just scattered right now. It just looks like we’re a series of moving parts.”
  • One bright spot for the Warriors in the early season has been the play of James Wiseman, Slater tweets. The 19-year-old center is averaging 18.5 points and 7.0 rebounds per game and looks worthy of being selected with the second overall pick. “He’s clearly the focal point of the future of how we’re building this team with Steph, Klay (Thompson), Draymond (Green),” Kerr said. “I can now throw James in there.”
  • Lakers star LeBron James has been chosen as Associated Press Male Athlete of the Year for the fourth time, writes Tim Reynolds of the AP. James was selected for helping his team win the NBA title and being a leader in the social justice movement.

Latest On Nicolas Batum

10:51pm: If the Blazers and Wolves fail to work out a trade and the Wolves sign Batum to an offer sheet, the Wolves will have to make a series of moves to do so, given what's expected to be a $10MM first-year salary in Minnesota's offer to Batum, reports Jerry Zgoda of the Star Tribune.

The moves would include buying out Brad Miller and Martell Webster and using the amnesty clause to waive Darko Milicic, Zgoda says, adding the Wolves may also have to trade a player. Luke Ridnour, J.J. Barea and Wesley Johnson are possible trade candidates in that scenario. Ridnour or a draft pick could be headed to the Bulls in a deal that would send Kyle Korver to the Blazers.  

6:33pm: Chris Haynes of has Olshey's comments on the possibility of a sign-and-trade for Batum.

You don't close the door to anything in this league,” the Blazers GM said. "But, from what I can see, as far as what they can viably offer as of today, I would think Nicolas would have more value than what they can put in a sign-and-trade.”

Read more

Spurs Eyeing Nicolas Batum

Nicolas Batum will become a restricted free agent at season's end, and it's not clear yet how the Trail Blazers will value him, since the team could have a new general manager in place in a matter of weeks. However, one team that figures to make a "hard push" for Batum is the Spurs, according to Chris Haynes of

When Batum entered the league in 2008, he expected to be drafted by the Spurs and was "confused" when he was selected by the Rockets, who traded him to Portland. Batum is close friends and international teammates with Tony Parker and would love to play in Gregg Popovich's system, says Haynes.

Since Batum will be a restricted free agent, the Blazers will have the option of matching any offer sheet the 23-year-old signs. Team president Larry Miller has said the plan is to retain Batum, as long as another club doesn't make him a "crazy" offer. While we don't know how high Portland would be willing to go to keep its starting small forward, the team will have plenty of cap space this summer. Haynes hears from league executives that Batum could command as much as $10-11MM per season.

Chuck Myron of Hoops Rumors examined Batum's free agent stock last night.

Clippers Notes: Kennard, Batum, Zubac, Ibaka

Luke Kennard and Nicolas Batum, two important offseason additions for the Clippers, haven’t played a regular season NBA game in nearly a year, writes Mirjam Swanson of The Orange County Register. Both players are trying to use the shortened preseason to get ready for opening night, which is just six days away.

The Pistons shut down Kennard last December 21 because of knee tendinitis. He had been hoping to return March 14, but the hiatus kept that from happening. Batum appeared in just 22 games last season, limited by injuries and the Hornets’ preference to give minutes to their younger players.

“The first (preseason) game was kind of weird,” Batum said. “I just wanted to go out there and just be back on the court and just play basketball and do some stuff and be sure I don’t do some crazy mistake. That’s really my goal the first two games, to be back on the court and get through the motion and get my rhythm and the feel for the court.”

There’s more Clippers news to pass along:

  • Ivica Zubac is adjusting to his new role as backup center, notes Andrew Greif of The Los Angeles Times. Zubac is expected to play similar minutes as in the past, but he will be on the court with a different set of teammates. “Zu specifically, he just has to get better with his hands,” said Lou Williams, the leader of the team’s second unit. “That was a conversation we spoke to. I’m a willing passer and he knows that. And so for him to be successful and get a lot of easy looks, we’re gonna have to get better and get on the same page with that. Other than that, I look forward to growing with him.”
  • Kennard and Serge Ibaka are both better fits for the Clippers than the players they replaced, contends John Hollinger of The Athletic. He sees Kennard, who can help run the offense, as a more complete player than Landry Shamet and notes that Ibaka’s ability to space the floor makes him more versatile than Montrezl Harrell. Hollinger opines that Paul George won’t be able to live up to his new four-year, $176MM contract, but thinks it still makes sense for the team, since the focus is on competing for a title in the next two seasons.
  • Reggie Jackson and assistant coach Chauncey Billups both returned to the team after being excused from Sunday’s game due to health and safety protocols, tweets Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN.

Hornets Notes: Biyombo, Batum, Hayward, Offense

The Hornets used some of their available cap space to re-sign reserve center Bismack Biyombo to a one-year contract worth $3.5MM, and also gave first-year salaries of $1.5MM to center Vernon Carey Jr. and $1MM to forward Nick Richards, Bobby Marks of ESPN tweets. Marks goes on to note that the Hornets, who still have about $4MM in available cap space, will also be able to use their $4.8M room exception to add an additional player if they so choose.

There’s more out of Charlotte:

  • After forward Nicolas Batum signed a veteran’s minimum deal with the Clippers when the Hornets waived him, Charlotte stands to save $559,528 spread out over the three-year duration of his stretched contract, per ESPN’ s Bobby Marks (via Twitter).
  • The robust $120MM, four-year contract of new Hornets forward Gordon Hayward has a 15% trade kicker baked into it, Michael Scotto of HoopsHype tweets. This would make the end of his deal, already thought to be exorbitant for a player with his injury history and age, even more expensive if he’s moved.
  • Following a breakout scoring season with the Hornets in 2019/20, guard Devonte’ Graham is in favor of a more balanced offensive attack incorporating new additions Hayward and LaMelo Ball, even though that means Graham’s looks could decrease, Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer reports.

Pacific Notes: Clippers, Batum, Hield, Suns, Warriors

In a fascinating, in-depth article for The Athletic, Jovan Buha takes a deep dive into the chemistry issues that plagued the Clippers during the 2019/20 season, exploring the club’s leadership void and various players’ grievances with the preferential treatment that star forwards Kawhi Leonard and Paul George received.

While Buha and others have reported about the Clippers’ locker room issues throughout the year, the latest Athletic story includes more specific details, including many of the perks provided to Leonard and George that irked teammates and compromised the positive culture that players bought into during the previous two seasons.

According to Buha, the two stars had power over the Clippers’ practice and travel schedule. Additionally, teammates believed Leonard and George were allowed to pick and choose when they played (not just sitting out games, but manipulating their playing time within games).

There are too many specific stories and details in Buha’s report to pass along all of them, but the upshot is that the Clippers are hoping new head coach Tyronn Lue – with the help of new roster additions like Serge Ibaka – will be able to address many of those issues, putting a greater emphasis on accountability. Sources tell The Athletic that players are excited to play for Lue and that Leonard and George are aware they must “establish a healthier locker room dynamic” in 2020/21.

Here’s more from around the Pacific:

Nicolas Batum Waived By Hornets, Plans To Sign With Clippers

As expected, the Hornets have waived veteran forward Nicolas Batum, reports Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link). The team has officially confirmed the move in a press release.

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. However, he’s only entering his age-32 season and should look more appealing on a minimum-salary deal than he did on his five-year, $120MM contract.

The Clippers are willing to bet on a bounce-back season from Batum, with Charania reporting (via Twitter) that the forward intends to sign with L.A. once he clears waivers. The Clips only have 12 players on fully guaranteed salaries and could use some additional depth on the wing, so Batum should be a good fit on the roster.

According to Charania (via Twitter), the Clippers were one of multiple contending teams with interest in Batum once Charlotte made it clear he would be cut. Golden State, Toronto, Utah, and Milwaukee were previously cited as potential suitors.

A report back on November 21 first indicated that Charlotte planned to waive Batum and stretch his $27MM+ salary across three seasons, opening up the cap room necessary for the team to sign Gordon Hayward to his new four-year, $120MM contract.

Once the Celtics and Hornets began discussing the possibility of turning Charlotte’s Hayward acquisition into a sign-and-trade, there was some uncertainty about whether releasing Batum would be necessary. The Hornets were believed to be exploring the possibility of sending him to Boston or – more likely – another team as part of a Hayward deal.

Although that won’t happen, that doesn’t mean that Hayward can’t still be acquired via sign-and-trade. We continue to await word on that front, but a sign-and-trade agreement would benefit the Celtics, who could generate a massive traded player exception in such a deal.

Now that Batum has been waived, it will make little difference from the Hornets’ perspective whether they sign Hayward outright or acquire him via sign-and-trade. If they can extract a sweetener (ie. a second-round pick or two) from Boston, it would make sense for Charlotte to accommodate the C’s and turn it into a sign-and-trade. We should find out soon whether or not that’s in the cards.

[UPDATE: Hornets Add Gordon Hayward Via Sign-And-Trade With Celtics]

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Southeast Notes: Batum, Fournier, Graham

If you’re wondering why Nicolas Batum hasn’t been his regular self for the Hornets since returning to the court, it’s because of lingering pain associated with the torn tendon in his left elbow, Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer writes.

Batum elected to forego potential season-ending injury in October when a specialist said that it would be possible to recover through rehabilitation. Batum returned to the Hornets after six weeks. In the 12 starts since, he’s averaged 10.1 points on 37% shooting from the field and just 22% from downtown. Last year, in contrast, he averaged 15.1 on 40% and 33%.

Since I got back, I’ve not been 100 percent yet. Not even close to 100 percent. It’s always there. Every contact: I grab someone, or someone grabs me, or someone hits me,” the versatile Hornets forward said. “I get [pain] every game.

There’s more from the Southeast Division tonight:

  • The Magic are creeping toward a playoff spot but George Diaz of the Orlando Sentinel says that’s not exactly a good thing. The scribe notes that the team has shown signs of relative competence but also mediocrity, the latter a one-way ticket to the dreaded middle-ground between success and actually landing a top lottery pick.
  • Plenty has gone wrong for the Hornets this season but the club has reason to be optimistic about Treveon Graham, Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer writes. The versatile wing, who can slide into a forward spot if necessary, could have an impact on how the team handles the coming few, injury-plagued weeks.
  • An MRI has revealed that Evan Fournier‘s ankle is sprained. The Magic guard hasn’t played since Wednesday, Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel writes, but he considers himself to be day-to-day.

Southeast Notes: Batum, Magette, Lamb

The Hornets may be without Nicolas Batum yet again, Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer writes. The 28-year-old swingman injured the same elbow that sidelined him for the first 12 games of the season.

While details are not yet known as to the extent of Batum’s recent setback, he missed the second half of the Hornets’ Wednesday night home game against Washington with a left elbow contusion.

All told, Batum missed six weeks with a torn ligament in the same elbow to start the season, so the fact that the injury stems from the same area is cause for concern.

In his five games of action for the Hornets, Batum has averaged 11.8 points, 3.8 rebounds and 3.8 assists per game.

There’s more from the Southeast Division tonight:

  • The Magic have fallen back down to earth after a 6-2 start but that doesn’t mean their apparent progress was a mirage. As John Denton of the team’s official site writes, the club is simply going through necessary growing pains.
  • The Hawks may have found themselves a diamond in the rough in the form of two-way contract signee Josh Magette. ESPN’s Ian Begley tweets that the undrafted rookie, who just posted four points, four rebounds and five assists in 15 minutes on Wednesday, has already impressed people around the league.
  • If Nicolas Batum ends up missing significant time with his re-injured left elbow, the Hornets will turn yet again to Jeremy Lamb who has emerged as a prolific perimeter scorer. The 25-year-old belongs in the conversation for Most Improved Player, Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer writes.

Southeast Notes: Batum, Magic, Wade

With a full scrimmage under his belt, Hornets swingman Nicolas Batum is expected to make his 2017/18 debut on Wednesday, Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer writes. Batum tore a ligament in his left elbow back on October 4.

One of the biggest impacts that Batum will have on the team is with his ball movement, as he posted 5.9 assists in addition to his 15.1 points and 6.2 rebounds per game for the Hornets last season.

I bet he got an assist to everybody he played with today. There were a couple of times when he hit me wide-open and I wasn’t expecting the ball,” Hornets forward Marvin Williams said after the practice.

The club will get an even better idea of how ready Batum is to return to in-game action when they ramp things up at the Hornets’ practice on Monday.

There’s more from the Southeast Division:

  • While he’s sure to clarify that the Magic don’t boast the same caliber of elite level talent that the Warriors have, John Denton of the team’s official site writes that Orlando has played rather Golden State-ish so far this season. The Magic have benefited from the same pace-and-space tactics that the historically dominant reigning champion Warriors have for the past several seasons.
  • The recent Eric Bledsoe trade has Heat beat writer Ira Winderman of The Sun Sentinel reexamining how the Goran Dragic deal holds up two years later. Like Bledsoe, Dragic was a quality Suns point guard that didn’t fit the team’s timeline at the time of the trade. Phoenix has yet to cash in on their spoils from that deal, Winderman writes. The Suns will collect Miami’s first-round pick in June (with some protections) and an unprotected first in 2021.
  • If Dion Waiters plays in 70 games for the Heat this season, he’ll earn an additional $1.1MM, Ira Winderman of The Sun Sentinel writes. That doesn’t mean the veteran will risk his health, however. “At the end of the day,” Waiters said, “If it’s something serious, I’m not going to put myself in harm’s way. I’m going to sit out. My body is more important.

Southeast Notes: Simmons, Batum, Wizards

The Magic have jumped out to a 6-2 start this season despite the fact that much of the core they’ve featured this season is a carryover from last year’s team that finished just 29-53. The X-Factor that’s helping the team perform so much better in 2017/18 could very well be Jonathon Simmons, Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders writes.

Simmons signed a three-year deal worth $20MM this summer and has earned the trust of head coach Frank Vogel early in his Magic career.

He has earned the trust. You know, when we put the ball in his hands, typically, he makes good things happen,” Vogel said. “He’s a good decision maker, and he’s a threat going to the basket. I mean, he really attacks the rim and will get to the free throw line and will finish. He does a good job making the extra pass, too. I do have a lot of trust; he’s earned it very early with me in his stay [with the Magic].

Through eight games with the Magic so far this year, Simmons has averaged 15.8 points and 3.6 rebounds.

There’s more out of the Southeast Division:

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