Report: Phoenix Suns have interest in free agent F Nicolas Batum

Jun 22, 2022, 10:33 AM
Los Angeles Clippers forward Nicolas Batum, center, shoots as Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid...

Los Angeles Clippers forward Nicolas Batum, center, shoots as Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid, left, and guard James Harden defend during the first half of an NBA basketball game Friday, March 25, 2022, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

(AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

Los Angeles Clippers forward Nicolas Batum is declining his $3.3 million player option to become a free agent this offseason and the Phoenix Suns have strong interest, per Yahoo Sports’ Chris Haynes.

Haynes adds that although Batum is expected to re-sign a new two-year deal with the Clippers, the Suns, Los Angeles Lakers, Chicago Bulls, Boston Celtics and Utah Jazz will all try and persuade the 14-year veteran away.

Batum averaged 8.3 points per game on 46.3% shooting to go along with 4.3 rebounds, 1.7 assists and one steal in 2022. The 33-year-old also shot 40% from the three-point line.

He spent the last two seasons in L.A. after spending time with the Portland Trail Blazers and Charlotte Hornets.

The 6-foot-8 frame could potentially add more size, physicality and shooting to pair with Jae Crowder and Dario Saric at the power forward position. It would also give Phoenix more of an opportunity to play small ball if the team decides to run center by committee in the upcoming season.

Haynes cites Batum’s versatility on both sides of the ball as well as being a locker room favorite because of his relationship and ability to play with stars Paul George and Kawhi Leonard.

The last two seasons in L.A. were two of Batum’s most efficient shooting performances over his career, shooting north of 46% each year compared to his career mark of 43.7%. The big man has also made the playoffs seven different times in his career.

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