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June 29, 2022
Basketball

Celtics reportedly interested in forward Nicolas Batum

The Boston Celtics are reportedly expected to show interest in free agent forward Nicolas Batum this offseason, according to Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports:

It is anticipated that the Los Angeles Lakers, Chicago Bulls, Boston Celtics, Phoenix Suns and Utah Jazz will have strong interest in trying to pry away the 14-year veteran from Clipper Land, sources said.

Batum recently declined his $3.3 million player option with the Clippers, choosing to enter unrestricted free agency. The 33-year-old veteran has spent the last two seasons in LA, where he was able to revitalize his career after a failed stint with the Charlotte Hornets.

This past season, Batum averaged 8.3 points, 4.3 rebounds, and 1.7 assists in 24.8 minutes per game for the Clippers. He shot 46.3% from the field and 40.0% from distance on 4.6 three-point attempts per game.

At 6’8”, Batum’s size allows him to defend multiple positions. The Clippers have even used him as a small-ball center for stints in the past. Batum spent 12% of his playing time this season at center, and last postseason, that number sat at 17%. This defensive versatility would make him an ideal fit in Boston’s switch-heavy defensive system.

The Celtics will have their taxpayer MLE available to them this summer, which will be worth roughly $6.3 million. However, according to Haynes, the Clippers “are in the driver’s seat” regarding Batum’s free agency options.

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