Nicolas Batum and the Charlotte Hornets are expected to hammer out a deal very quickly this summer so that the swingman can play for his native France in the Olympic Qualifying Tournament, according to a report from FIBA.com.
"Batum's agent had previously indicated that his client, a free agent who just had a terrific first season with the Charlotte Hornets, would be in the United States resolving his NBA future and that the paperwork would not be finalized in time for him to play."
This is what many expected to be the case. Batum's a free agent on July 1 and among the top available players at his position during a summer when nearly two-thirds of NBA teams have enough cap room to offer at least one maximum contract.
No one would blame Batum for exploring his options, but wait! It sounds like he really, really wants to play for France in July, and like he really, really wants some insurance through a new contract — with the Hornets.
More from FIBA:
"However, it is understood that the French player and the Hornets will quickly agree terms on a new deal and that could could give France enough time to obtain insurance for Batum and allow him to take part in some of the (Olympic Qualifying Tournament) games."
No word on who the source of this information is, but the report states pretty matter-of-factly that the Hornets and Batum are mutually interested in one another and that they're ready to work out the details of his next contract (if they haven't already) come July 1.
Batum's ability to handle the basketball proved crucial to the Hornets' new offense and lightened Kemba Walker's workload dramatically and allowed Walker to have a career year. The Hornets have struggled to develop much continuity over the last several seasons, so it's nice to hear that they and Batum are already looking ahead to next season — together.