Thursday , October 6 2022

Nicolas Batum agrees to two-year deal to return to Los Angeles Clippers in NBA free agency, sources say

Free agent forward Nicolas Batum has agreed to a two-year deal to return to the LA Clippers, sources told ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski on Thursday.

Shooting guard Amir Coffey also agreed to a three-year, $11 million deal to remain with the Clippers, his agents Bill Duffy and Marlon Harrison of BDA Sports and WME Sports told Wojnarowski.

After finishing his second season with the Clippers, Batum made it clear just how much he loved being a Clipper. Batum credited the team and head coach Ty Lue with saving his career after some thought the veteran was done after averaging 3.6 points in 22 appearances in his final year in Charlotte during the 2019-20 season.

“I love the team,” Batum said after the Clippers lost in final play-in game of the Western Conference to New Orleans in April. “I’ve been here for almost two years now. I was almost out of this league. It’s been two different years. But I loved it, I loved it. I love it here. That coach, those guys. I mean, it’s tough [losing in the play-in], but it’s going to be fun next year.”

Batum declined his $3.3 million player option ahead of free agency but was always expected to re-sign with LA.

Batum has been an integral part of the Clippers, a veteran whose versatility has thrived on both ends under coach Ty Lue. In the playoffs two seasons ago, Batum’s ability to protect the rim and guard on the perimeter as well as shoot 3s at an efficient clip allowed LA to play small and helped power their run to the Western Conference finals.

Batum averaged 8.1 points and 4.7 rebounds in his first season with the Clippers before averaging 8.3 points and 4.3 rebounds last season. He started 54 of the 59 games he played for the Clippers last season with Kawhi Leonard rehabbing a torn ACL the entire season.

With Leonard expected to return alongside Paul George, the Clippers are entering the season as title contenders with perhaps their deepest roster to date. Lue has said that he envisions times during games this season when he would like to put out a lineup of players on the floor that are all interchangeable and can switch defensively on all five positions. Lue mentioned Batum as part of that vision to go along with the likes of Leonard, George, Norman Powell and Marcus Morris Sr.

Coffey has averaged 6.2 points, 2.0 rebounds and 1.2 assists per game in his three seasons in L.A.

ESPN’s Ohm Youngmisuk contributed to this report.


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