In today’s Grantland column, there’s an interesting note about Nicolas Batum and his desire to play in Toronto:
“Batum is an impending unrestricted free agent on a borderline playoff team, diving into an unprecedented cap frenzy in which two-dozen suitors could offer $20 million per season. Batum’s people have already made noise about how much Batum would like to play in Toronto, a city that appeals to his international roots, per several league sources. He is a flight risk, even though both Cho and Chad Buchanan, the team’s assistant GM, know Batum well from their days in Portland. “We are very comfortable given that Chad and Rich know Nic well,” Polk says.”
Batum was traded to the Hornets as Portland didn’t like their chances of re-signing him to an extension, and got whatever they could in return. He’s set to make $13M this upcoming season, before lining himself up for a huge raise in the NBA’s increasing salary cap. The Raptors could be able to make a play for him, but keep in mind they have their own free-agents to worry about, namely extending DeMar DeRozan and Jonas Valanciunas (Basketball Insiders Salary Page).
With DeMarre Carroll set to play a part at power forward, the versatile Frenchman, who is an excellent defender and a career 36% three-point shooter, could be a perfect fit for that small-ball we crave.
Update: some Twitter reaction from Batum denying, and Lowe insisting:
— Nicolas Batum (@nicolas88batum) July 28, 2015
@SamediBenjamin No, they're not. He tweeted something today. In the recent past, and often, his people have said something else.
— Zach Lowe (@ZachLowe_NBA) July 28, 2015