Could Nic Batum, Warriors be free agency match after Hornets waive vet?

Alex Didion
·2 min read

Could Batum be Warriors option after Hornets waive vet? originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea

Unlike the Warriors, the Charlotte Hornets actually made a big splash in free agency on Saturday, coming to terms with Gordon Hayward on a four-year, $120 million contract, ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski first reported.

In order to create the necessary cap space for the deal, Charlotte reportedly waived swingman Nic Batum, who previously had opted into his $27.1 million salary for 2020-21 with the Hornets, the Charlotte Observer's Rick Bonnell reported Saturday.

Golden State hasn't made an addition in free agency so far, but could Batum, whose salary will be stretched out over the next three years by the Hornets, be an option for the Warriors, a team in need of depth on the wing with Klay Thompson "expected to miss" the entire season?

Batum has "multiple contending teams" already expressing interest, Yahoo Sports' Chris Haynes reported citing league sources. It wouldn't be surprising if the Warriors were one of those teams, but already facing immense salary cap constraints, a deal for Batum only could happen through utilizing the mid-level exception, worth $6 million.

The French-born Batum played in just 22 games for Charlotte last season, averaging 3.6 points and 4.5 rebounds per game. The 31-year-old was entering the final season of a five-year, $120 million contract with the Hornets, and especially after the acquisition of Hayward, there wasn't much room in the rotation for Batum in Charlotte.

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A strong defender, Batum could be a tremendous role player for the Warriors and take some pressure off of Andrew Wiggins and reported new addition Kelly Oubre Jr. next season. Batum's percentage from three dropped below 30 percent for the first time in his career in 2019-20, but he also barely played and still shoots over 35 percent for his career.

After James Wiseman was made the No. 2 overall pick by the Warriors, fortifying the wing and adding reliable scorers and playmakers to the bench became the top priority for Golden State's front office.

The Warriors would have to hope Batum clears waivers, as they wouldn't be able to take on his $9 million salary.

Several of the Warriors' top targets to mitigate the lost production of Thompson have chosen other destinations over the past few days, as the loss of the five-time All-Star certainly has lessened Golden State's chances of returning to championship contention next season.

It doesn’t seem likely, but perhaps we’ll see Batum entertain joining the Warriors if he clears waivers.

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