NBA Free Agency: Chalotte Hornets Sign Nicolas Batum To $120 Million Deal

The Charlotte Hornets came into the offseason with Nicolas Batum as their top priority. The 27-year-old small forward had one of the best seasons of his career last year. The Hornets were trying to get a deal done with Batum before he could meet with other teams. According to ESPN, Batum has agreed to resign with the Hornets. He is signing a five-year deal worth $120 million.

Several teams in the NBA were hoping to get a meeting with Nicolas Batum before he made his decision. He had scheduled a meeting with the Dallas Mavericks on Friday. There was no doubt that Batum was going to get a significant pay raise this summer.

The Charlotte Hornets were considered to be the frontrunners to sign Nicolas Batum because they owned his Bird rights. The Hornets were the only team that could have offered him more money and an extra year.

As of right now, Nicolas Batum has a verbal agreement with the Charlotte Hornets. Verbal commitments are non-binding. He could change his mind if he wanted to. From what was heard after the season ended, it does not look like Batum will change his mind. He said that he would love to return to the Hornets because he was allowed to play the way he wanted.

Before Nicolas Batum signed with the Charlotte Hornets, he spent his first seven seasons playing for the Portland Trail Blazers. His last three seasons with the Trail Blazers, Batum developed himself to be a triple-double threat.

In his last season with the Portland Trail Blazers, Nicolas Batum saw a major drop in his production. Trail Blazers general manager Neil Olshey decided to trade away Batum. They came to an agreement to send him to the Charlotte Hornets.

Charlotte Hornets coach Steve Clifford
The Charlotte Hornets received Nicolas Batum in the trade. They traded away Noah Vonleh and Gerald Henderson to the Portland Trail Blazers. It was a win-win situation for both franchises. The Trail Blazers received a young promising big man and cleared up cap space for the near future. The Hornets received a veteran who can help them win more games now.

Nicolas Batum had a bounce-back season. He said that he enjoys playing for Charlotte Hornets head coach Steve Clifford. Batum was given more freedom on offense than ever before. He gave the Hornets some balanced scoring and played tough defense.

This season, Nicolas Batum averaged 14.9 points, 5.8 assists, and 6.1 rebounds. He was very consistent in scoring for the Charlotte Hornets. Batum was the second scoring option for Steve Clifford. He averaged a career high in points and assists. Batum is one of the better two-way players in the NBA.

Charlotte Hornets forward Michael Kidd Gilchrist
Nicolas Batum helped lead the Charlotte Hornets to a 48-win season. They made it into the NBA Playoffs. The Hornets were eliminated in first round by the Miami Heat. They took the series to seven games.

The Charlotte Hornets have some key players who became free agents along with Nicolas Batum. Now that they have come to terms with Batum, the Hornets will shift their focus to Marvin Williams. They will also be looking to sign a center since Al Jefferson is an unrestricted free agent.

If the Charlotte Hornets can keep their core players together, they could be a force in the Eastern Conference. Michael Kidd-Gilchrist will be returning next season from an injury. Kidd-Gilchrist and Nicolas Batum are two of the better wing defenders in the NBA. Batum is one of the most versatile players in the league. He can play up to four positions.

[Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images]