The Charlotte Hornets made it known early in the offseason that re-signing Nicolas Batum was the team's "No. 1 priority." Around four hours after teams could begin talking to players, the Hornets accomplished that goal.
We got a deal! #BuzzCity— Nicolas Batum (@nicolas88batum) July 1, 2016
Batum had been scheduled to speak with the Dallas Mavericks, New York Knicks, Los Angeles Lakers and Washington Wizards, but instead will be remaining in Buzz City after a strong season that saw him average 14.9 points, 6.1 rebounds and 5.8 assists. He played a major role in Charlotte's offensive revolution in 2015-2016, and now has properly been rewarded for it.
According to Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer, the Hornets could have offered as much as $152 million over five years, thanks in part to the team acquiring Batum's Bird Rights when they traded for him. Other teams would only be able to offer $113 million in a five-year deal.
Though it is early in free agency with the massive new salary cap, the deal looks like it could be a steal when compared to the $139 million over five years the Toronto Raptors gave DeMar DeRozan.
It is also worth keeping in mind - the Hornets now have Batum for the next five years along with Kemba Walker for the next three (at $12 million per year) and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist for the next four (at $13 million per year).
All odds have pointed to Batum returning to Charlotte for some time, but it is nice to see the deal got done so early. With Batum locked up, now the team can focus on their remaining free agents.