Report: Nicolas Batum agrees to five-year, $120 million contract with Hornets

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Hornets general manager Rich Cho called re-signing Nicolas Batum their top offseason priority.

And why wouldn’t it be?

Charlotte traded the promising young Noah Vonleh (locked into a rookie-scale deal) for Batum on an expiring contract, and Batum played well. He helped the franchise win its first playoff games since reemerging as the Bobcats.

It would have been embarrassing for the Hornets if Batum walked.

Face saved.

Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports:

Considering his leverage, I’m surprised Batum accepted less than the full max, which projects to be worth about $153 million over five years.¬†Still, this is more than he could’ve gotten elsewhere (projected to be a max of $114 million over four years), and the player option helps.

At 27, he should remain productive for most, if not all of this deal. Getting him was the most important aspect, as future salary-cap increases will make his salary look more reasonable.

Batum, like all the key Hornets on expiring contracts, seemed comfortable in Charlotte. But how much of last year’s team will return?

The Hornets have about $20 million left to use on their second priorityMarvin Williams — and that might be enough. That’d almost certainly mean losing Courtney Lee and Jeremy Lin, though.

By agreeing to terms so quickly, this opens the door for Batum playing for France in an Olympic Qualifying Tournament. But the event begins July 5, and Batum can’t officially sign until July 7. If the turnaround is workable, it’s only barely so.