Celtics ‘Have Interest’ In 14-Year Veteran Sharpshooter: Report

Nicolas Batum, Boston Celtics

Getty Nicolas Batum, Boston Celtics

The Boston Celtics‘ need for additional shooting is well documented, and it was a clear factor in their struggles against the Golden State Warriors.

However, things seem to be heating up ahead of free agency, as Nicolas Batum opted out of his contract with the Los Angeles Clippers on June 21, making him an unrestricted free agent as a result. Of course, Batum could decide that he wants to remain in Los Angeles and renegotiate a new deal with the Clippers, but that won’t stop other teams from circling until an announcement is made.

And those teams have already begun to register their interest, according to Yahoo Sport’s Chris Haynes, the Celtics are among a host of teams looking to add the veteran shooter to their roster.

The Los Angeles Lakers, Utah Jazz, Phoenix Suns, and Chicago Bulls are the other teams that are currently listed as being interested in the veterans’ services, which is in large part down to his impressive season for the Clippers.

Batum participated in 59 games last season, starting 54 of them while averaging 8.3 points, 4.3 rebounds, and 1.7 assists per game on 40% three-point shooting and 60.7% from the field.

Boston Can Attract Ring Chasers

Despite falling short in their big to lift an NBA championship, the Celtics still made it all the way to the finals, and when it comes to enticing potential free agents, the opportunity to compete for a ring is one of the best bargaining tools possible.

Batum moved to the Clippers in 2020 and was likely hoping to challenge for the NBA’s greatest prize during his latest stay, but injuries to Kawhi Leonard and Paul George scuppered his chances of doing so.

However, should Batum opt to join the Celtics, he could be one of the missing pieces to fixing the team’s scoring issues from the bench, specifically from deep, and provide the likes of Payton Pritchard and Derrick White with some much-needed spacing when teams bunker down in the half-court.

Batum Checks Multiple Boxes

Sure, bringing in a career 36.3% three-point shooter will immediately improve the Celtics bench rotation – there’s no denying that. But Batum brings more to the table than just scoring.

The six-foot-eight wing would also provide some additional veteran leadership, give the bench rotation a boost in size, and he projects to be a good fit on the defensive side of the ball too – primarily due to his size and length, rather than a high defensive motor.

Still, adding a player that averaged 79% at the rim, 59% from floater range, 49% from the corner three, and 36% from the perimeter, is nothing to gloss over – especially considering how often Boston’s offense got bogged down when Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown weren’t on the floor.

Boston only has the taxpayer mid-level exception to play with when targeting free agents this summer, which projects to be around $6.2 million – so adding a player of Batum’s quality and experience would be a huge win for a Celtics team looking to bounce back from the heartache of losing in game six of the Finals on June 16.

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