After a surprisingly strong season from the Charlotte Hornets, they took one step toward securing their short-term future by signing Nicolas Batum to a five-year extension, per Shams Charania of The Vertical.
Charlotte surprised quite a few NBA followers when it acquired Batum from the Portland Trail Blazers for Gerald Henderson and Noah Vonleh. However, most of the optimism surrounding his arrival was offset by Michael Kidd-Gilchrist’s shoulder surgery.
His signing will be a big boost for the Hornets, and it is a relative bargain of a deal.
Batum was eligible for a maximum contract of $153 million over five years from Charlotte, per ESPN.com’s MacMahon and Marc J. Spears.
Injuries and poor shooting plagued the versatile Frenchman in 2015-16, but he was an upgrade for Charlotte’s rotation. He became one of the Hornets’ most valuable members of the backcourt, helping to bring some three-point shooting that was sorely lacking in the past.
According to Basketball-Reference.com, Batum’s usage rate climbed to 21.4 percent, a somewhat significant increase over the majority of his time with the Trail Blazers. As a result, he posted a career-high 14.9 points, in addition to 6.1 rebounds and 5.8 assists per game.