The Boston Celtics are reportedly expected to show interest in free agent forward Nicolas Batum this offseason, according to Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports:
It is anticipated that the Los Angeles Lakers, Chicago Bulls, Boston Celtics, Phoenix Suns and Utah Jazz will have strong interest in trying to pry away the 14-year veteran from Clipper Land, sources said.
Batum recently declined his $3.3 million player option with the Clippers, choosing to enter unrestricted free agency. The 33-year-old veteran has spent the last two seasons in LA, where he was able to revitalize his career after a failed stint with the Charlotte Hornets.
This past season, Batum averaged 8.3 points, 4.3 rebounds, and 1.7 assists in 24.8 minutes per game for the Clippers. He shot 46.3% from the field and 40.0% from distance on 4.6 three-point attempts per game.
At 6’8”, Batum’s size allows him to defend multiple positions. The Clippers have even used him as a small-ball center for stints in the past. Batum spent 12% of his playing time this season at center, and last postseason, that number sat at 17%. This defensive versatility would make him an ideal fit in Boston’s switch-heavy defensive system.
The Celtics will have their taxpayer MLE available to them this summer, which will be worth roughly $6.3 million. However, according to Haynes, the Clippers “are in the driver’s seat” regarding Batum’s free agency options.