With the salary cap set to make a huge jump this summer, a number of players are set to cash in big. There are plenty of big names the Los Angeles Lakers could chase such as Kevin Durant, Hassan Whiteside, and DeMar DeRozan, but one of the other intriguing names to watch is Charlotte Hornets wing Nicolas Batum.
After spending seven years with the Portland Trail Blazers, Batum was traded to Charlotte and enjoyed the best year of his career and will now be an unrestricted free agent this off-season.
According to Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer, however, Batum believes that he and the rest of the Hornets have unfinished business after their playoff loss to the Miami Heat:
“We should be playing tomorrow (in the Eastern Conference semifinals) and we’re pretty mad about that,” Batum said of Sunday’s Game 7 loss to the Miami Heat.
“So this is unfinished business.”
Batum added that he is unsure of what will happen, but he does plan on talking to the Hornets first once free agency begins:
“Why not? I don’t know (what will happen in) a crazy summer for a lot of people. But why not?” Batum said.
“I want to talk to them first, for sure. July 1 will be a crazy day, but will Charlotte be my first call? Yes.”
Hornets head coach Steve Clifford also said that re-signing Batum was his team’s top priority so it seems very possible that a deal could be struck between those two sides before anyone else has a chance to speak to him. That is bad news for the Lakers or anyone else who possibly has plans to getting Batum to leave Charlotte.
This summer is set to be a wild one as most teams in the NBA will have a lot of money to spend, and plenty of players will be looking to get paid. Magic Johnson already has an idea of who the Lakers should be targeting and the team has also laid out plans with new head coach Luke Walton. Now everyone just has to wait and see what the Lakers will be able to pull off.