Free agent forward Nicolas Batum will sign a two-year deal to remain with the LA Clippers, Shams Charania of the Athletic reports. No exact figure has been reported as of yet, but the second year of the contract will be a player option, according to ESPN’s Ohm Youngmisuk.
What’s more, Andrew Greif of the LA Times reports that the Clippers will sign Batum on a non-Bird deal, meaning the Clippers still have their Taxpayer Mid-Level Exception (worth $5.9 million) to use on another free agent.
This signing was by no means a foregone conclusion for LA. Batum was reportedly being eyed by the Golden State Warriors, Miami Heat and Indiana Pacers. Ultimately, it seems Batum’s familiarity with his current team and the success he had under Head Coach Tyronn Lue made the difference for him.
Batum had a fantastic bounceback year after a lost one in Charlotte in 2019-20. The 13-year vet shot 40.4% from three as a Clipper, and was integral as a small-ball center for LA’s deadly five-out lineup.
Batum’s wife, Lily, gave a heartfelt message to Clipper fans prior to the signing. Batum became a fan favorite over the course of the 2020-21 season; his LA fans deemed themselves the “Batum Battalion.”
With Batum secured and Kawhi Leonard’s re-signing reportedly inevitable, the Clippers’ front office will now turn their attention to their other free agent, Reggie Jackson. The New Orleans Pelicans have reportedly shown interest in Jackson, who also had a bounceback year under Lue. The Clippers have early Bird rights on Jackson, and can offer him a deal worth roughly four years, $40 million.