Nicolas Batum was one of the most impactful free-agent signings in the NBA last season, and the rest of the league has taken notice.
Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports reports that the Clippers will have competition in bringing Batum back to Los Angeles, and two of the teams that have eyes on Batum also fancy themselves title contenders. The list of suitors is currently Miami, Golden State, and Indiana.
The Los Angeles Clippers are hoping to re-sign Nicolas Batum, but the free-agent forward also receiving interest from Miami, Golden State and Indiana, league sources tell @YahooSports.— Chris Haynes (@ChrisBHaynes) August 1, 2021
The Clippers are limited financially in what they can offer Batum, likely topping out at the taxpayer midlevel exception worth $5.9 million. The Warriors and Heat appear to have the same financial constraints, though the Pacers could have access to the full non-taxpayer midlevel, valued at $9.7 million.
In his post-draft press conference, Lawrence Frank unequivocally said, “We would like to bring Nico back.” The Clippers can offer Batum a role that allows him to shine, like he did this past season, and a chance to contend. For a player who has only been on two teams before the Clippers in his NBA career, if might also appeal to Batum to remain in the same city for a second straight year.
There were other competitors for Batum’s services last year, including Utah and Golden State. Warriors head coach Steve Kerr said they tried hard to sign Batum and went so far as to call him “the best signing of the entire offseason in the NBA” considering the cost and his production.
There could be some wait on Batum since he is still in Tokyo competing in the Olympics. France advanced to the knockout round and will play Italy in the quarterfinals. But the Clippers won the Batum sweepstakes last year, and they hope to do so again.