Should Clippers worry about Nic Batum opting out?

Nicolas Batum, LA Clippers (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)
Nicolas Batum, LA Clippers (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images) /

Nicolas Batum watched from the sidelines as his once-promising NBA career came crashing down before his very eyes. At one point, Batum was viewed as one of the NBA’s more promising players. With his ability to handle the ball at 6’8” like a guard and dish out perfectly timed passes to his perimeter players on the Portland Trail Blazers, Batum’s value around the league skyrocketed.

As a result, Batum parlayed his outstanding play into a gargantuan payday, signing a five-year, $120 million dollar deal with the Charlotte Hornets in 2015. While Batum enjoyed his massive payday, his career cratered. That is, until he was summarily picked up by the LA Clippers during the 2020-21 season.

Before the start of the new league year last season, Batum signed a two-year deal worth $5.9 million. After another stellar season, averaging 8.3 points and 4.3 assists, Batum could be in line for another payday if he decides to opt out, something John Hollinger of The Athletic believes could ultimately happen.

“With a player option for a paltry $3.3 million, it’s a no-brainer for Batum to opt out of his deal,” said Hollinger One likely end game is that he would re-up with the Clippers, who now have Early Bird rights on him for the maximum they can offer (approximately $12 million this year), which would put his salary reasonably close to the above valuation.”

Should the Clippers Nic Batum opt out

In continuation of Hollinger’s thinking process, if Batum were to decline his player option, thanks to LA holding his Early Bird rights, his current base salary of $3.3 million for next season, could increase to $5.6 million. But, Batum could also be in line for an even greater, more in the 11-12 million range.

Regardless of what Batum ultimately decides, Hollinger is convinced that opting is the versatile swingman’s next and best move. Considering Batum’s salient role on LA, registering 2.1 Defensive Win Shares this past season, ranking fourth on LA’s roster, the once middling franchise could be forced to bring Batum back into the fold, despite the salary cap hell they find themselves currently mired in.

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