The Los Angeles Clippers will hope that the 2022-23 season is finally the year they put the pieces all together and stay healthy enough to make a real championship push, headed by Kawhi Leonard and Paul George.
The Clippers have invested a huge amount into their roster, handing out extensions to Marcus Morris, Luke Kennard, Norman Powell, Terance Mann, and Robert Covington to ensure their window stays as open as possible — and, also, that they can pounce on a potential trade for a disgruntled star should one come available. This summer, there aren’t many free agents on the Clippers roster but one very important piece they need to work out a deal with in Nic Batum.
The veteran forward had a player option worth just over $3 million to consider, but will reportedly turn that down to become a free agent, with hopes to stay in L.A. on a larger contract, per ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.
Clippers F Nic Batum will decline his $3.3M player option and become a free agent, sources tell ESPN. There’s expected to be mutual interest with Clippers and Batum on reaching a new deal in July.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) June 21, 2022
The Clippers can offer Batum a contract of up to $10.9 million per year for a minimum of two years thanks to holding his early Bird rights, but that pushes them ever closer to the hard cap. Batum, like PJ Tucker, figures to have plenty of interest should from other contenders should he open up his free agency beyond just renegotiating in L.A., but for now it seems the Clippers will retain him and just push Steve Ballmer’s luxury tax bill a bit higher.