The Toronto Raptors are on the verge of remaking the roster in a fairly significant way, as they could easily decide to part ways with Chris Boucher and/or Thad Young. In terms of finding a replacement, it’s hard to find someone who could fit in more seamlessly than Nic Batum.
After fizzling out in Charlotte, the 33-year-old found new life with the Los Angeles Clippers. Batum’s ability to shoot and defend multiple positions helped him fit in with a coach in Ty Lue that loves to throw multiple lineup combinations at unsuspecting teams.
Batum went from one of the worst contracts in NBA history to a proven role player who can help any ready-made contender survive just a bit longer in the postseason. Knowing that he can cash in on one more substantial contract, Batum appears to be testing the market.
Batum declined his $3.3 million player option. While he will likely resign with the Clippers, nothing is set in stone until the ink dries on the paper. The Raptors have signed free agents at the eleventh hour before, and they could do so again if they pick up Batum.
The Toronto Raptors could make a run at Nic Batum.
Batum averaged 8.2 points, 4.5 rebounds, and 2.0 assists per game over the last two seasons while making 40% of his 3-point attempts on 4.3 heaves per game. The concept of a 3-and-D wing doesn’t get more obvious than this, as Batum is an effective player after 14 seasons in the NBA.
Batum would join a Raptors team that was one of the league’s worst in bench scoring and bench 3-point percentage. Batum would be a better shooter than Boucher while providing enough defensive plays to allow the Raptors to let Boucher leave for a more lucrative deal elsewhere.
Boucher would likely need to be cast to the wind in order to have the necessary resources to afford Batum. Letting the younger player just a year removed from a 13.6 points per game season walk seems odd, but Batum might be a better short-term fit on a team clearly pining for someone who can impact the game offensively as he can.
Much like Young, Batum seems like the type of player Toronto has covertly chased for years. The Clippers will likely be a very enticing option with Kawhi Leonard coming back into the fold, but Toronto should still make a charge at Batum to see if he can be won over.