The Hornets will finally be moving on from Nicolas Batum, as he was officially waived by Charlotte on Sunday. It was a move that surprised no one after Charlotte signed Gordon Hayward, but signaled that they were unable to find a sign-and-trade opportunity for Batum in the deal.
Batum had fallen out of the rotation in Charlotte due to a mix of poor fit and the franchise heading in a new direction. That said, there’s still hope the soon to be 32-year-old wing can contribute to a winning team in a smaller role. So it’s also not a surprise to find out the Clippers are willing to take a flyer on him. According to Shams Charania of The Athletic, Batum plans to sign with the Clippers in hopes of reestablishing himself in the NBA.
OFFICIAL: We have waived forward Nicolas Batum.
— Charlotte Hornets (@hornets) November 29, 2020
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) November 29, 2020
When the Hornets signed Nicolas Batum to his giant 5-year contract in 2016 they knew it was risky. He had massively overperformed in his one year with the team, but his importance to them as an on ball creator and scorer off the dribble made him a valuable asset they couldn’t afford to lose. The Hornets took the risk, but unfortunately he never quite lived up to his expectations, in part due to injury issues. He was a quality player, but not the second star they were hoping to pair next to Kemba Walker. His final year with the team he was miserable shooting from the field and honestly he didn’t look like an NBA player.
It’s possible however that Batum’s fit in the new look Hornets was more the cause of his poor play than his actual ability. If he does end up signing with the Clippers we may see a resurgence from him on a winning team. His role will be smaller and he may be happier. It’s certainly worth the gamble. He’s a multi-tooled offensive player that should fit in well on the bench in Los Angeles. Even if we never see him play like he did in that one career year for Charlotte.