As the NBA’s rumor mill continues to ramp up ahead of the 2022 Draft on Thursday, the Chicago Bulls once again find themselves caught up in the midst of another report. This time, league sources are indicating that Chicago is in play for the veteran forward Nicolas Batum.
Recently declining his $3.3 million player option, Batum is set to hit unrestricted free agency and is open to receiving another payday. While he famously failed to live up to the ill-advised $120 million deal offered by Charlotte in 2016, Batum has still managed to be a productive player in the league and could be worth the investment at a more reasonable price tag.
Batum has become a dependable rotation player both as a starter and off the bench for the Clippers over the last two seasons. While LA likely wishes to retain the wing on a new deal this summer, Batum’s flexibility is bound to draw considerable interest in the free agent market.
Chris Haynes of Yahoo broke the news that the Bulls are among several teams inquiring about Batum’s services.
As the Bulls look to improve their depth on the wing, Nic Batum should be among their best options in free agency.
While it’s far from a sure thing that the Bulls could attract Batum to Chicago, it’s a good sign to see the team’s name in the running against other premiere destinations like LA, Boston, Phoenix, and Utah. If several of the other top teams in the league are attempting to make the same moves as your favorite team, that’s a good sign that your front office is probably on the right path.
If I had to wager, I’d still guess that Batum remains with the Clippers. Although he started in 73% of games with the Clippers, he was still allowed to take a lesser workload and register just 26 minutes per game. In that time, Batum averaged a dependable 8.2 points, 4.5 rebounds, 2 assists, and 1 steal per game.
Most impressive of all, Batum knocked down 40.2% of his 3-point attempts with the Clippers. I highly doubt the Clippers will want to lose that offensive versatility off the bench, but Batum would be a very welcome addition to the Bulls’ bench rotation.
Now that the Bulls are finally back to being a playoff-caliber team, it’s nice to know that they’ll consistently be on the radar of the league’s top free agents. Batum is an excellent complementary player and could shine here with the Bulls next to DeMar DeRozan and Zach LaVine. But if he chooses to remain with Kawhi Leonard and Paul George in pursuit of a championship, I can’t exactly say I blame him.