Update: Batum has officially been waived by the Hornets and plans on signing with the Clippers once he clears, per Shams.
Update: The Hornets are going to waive Batum and reportedly use the league’s stretch provision to make room for Hayward, according to Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer.
Charlotte Hornets SG Nicolas Batum will exercise his player option for the 2020-21 season, per The Athletic’s Shams Charania. His contract will be worth $27.1 million this season with the Hornets. Batum could have become an unrestricted free agent had he declined the option.
This decision comes as a surprise because the Hornets just reportedly signed free agent forward Gordon Hayward to a four-year, $120 million deal on Saturday. Hayward will likely push Batum, who has struggled to stay healthy, further down the depth chart.
After begin one of the more versatile players in the NBA his first two years with Charlotte, Batum has really fallen off a cliff. Injuries plagued him this past season; Batum only played 22 games. He doesn’t have much left in the tank at age 31, though the salary means there’s no way he wasn’t going to opt into that much money.
So the Hornets are kind of stuck with Batum’s massive salary on the bench unless he can either bounce back or they can find a trade partner for him. If Batum can bounce back, we could see more of a season like he had in 2018-19, when he averaged 9 points, 5 boards and 3 assists over 72 games.