Clippers re-signing Nicolas Batum and Amir Coffey, losing Isaiah Hartenstein to Knicks

Amir Coffey #7, Nicolas Batum #33 and Isaiah Hartenstein #55 of the Los Angeles Clippers
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The Warriors drew complaints for their big spending last season.

The Clippers project to be even further above the luxury-tax line next year than Golden State was this year.

Though that won’t cost the Clippers as much – they, unlike the Warriors, aren’t paying the repeater rate – L.A. is facing a $144 luxury-tax liability after re-signing Nicolas Batum and Amir Coffey.

Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports:

Free agent forward Nicolas Batum has reached an agreement with the Los Angeles Clippers on a two-year, $22 million deal, league sources told Yahoo Sports.

Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN:

The luxury tax isn’t assessed until the final day of the regular season. So, L.A. plenty of time to trim payroll. But Clippers owner Steve Ballmer has greenlit big spending.

That’s why the Clippers have such great depth.

Batum is an extremely helpful frontcourt player – a versatile defender and skilled offensive player. He complements stars Kawhi Leonard and Paul George so well.

The Clippers could pay Batum up to $22,554,168 over two years with the Early Bird Exception. Maybe he took slightly less, or maybe his salary got rounded down in reporting.

Originally signed to a two-way contract as an undrafted player in 2019, Coffey has developed into a solid depth piece on the wing. He might not play much if Leonard and George are healthy. L.A. still has Marcus Morris, Terance Mann, Luke Kennard and Batum and could have a full season of Norman Powell and Robert Covington after trading for those two last February. But Coffey is a luxury the Clippers can afford.

They probably would’ve paid to re-sign Isaiah Hartenstein, too, if they could’ve. But they were limited to 120% of the minimum salary after using the taxpayer mid-level exception on John Wall. Besides, Hartenstein got more than the taxpayer MLE from the Knicks, anyway.

Shams Charania of The Athletic:

Hartenstein, 24, had a breakout season with the Clippers. He protects the paint, keeps the ball moving and finishes efficiently.

He slides into New York’s center rotation with Mitchell Robinson an unrestricted free agent and Nerlens Noel traded to the Pistons.