Better Know A Free Agent: Nicolas Batum

Apr 6, 2012; Dallas, TX, USA; Portland Trail Blazers small forward Nicolas Batum (88) brings the ball up the court during the game against the Dallas Mavericks at the American Airlines Center. The Trailblazers defeated the Mavericks 99-97 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-US PRESSWIRE

Depending on what the Washington Wizards do with Andray Blatche and Rashard Lewis, they could have around $12 million of salary-cap space to spend this summer. It remains to be seen if the Wizards actually use it or bank it towards the 2013 class, but in any event, there are a number of free agents that could help the team's push into playoff contention. We'll take a look at several of those options in this running series. Next up: Nicolas Batum.

Team: Portland Trail Blazers.

Type: Restricted free agent.

Last year: Had a pretty strong season considering all of Portland's turmoil, but still fell just short of breaking out. He continues to up his usage and become a better all-around offensive player, and he also saw his three-point percentage rise back up to normal levels after a shaky 2010-11. All in all, he definitely took a nice step forward.

Why he's fit in well: He's a perfect fit offensively because he can space the floor, shoot off the catch, come off down screens and cut to the rim when his defender turns his head. According to MySynergySports.com, he scored 1.55 points per possession on plays deemed as "cuts," good for fourth in the league. This is due to his tremendous court sense and instincts.

Why he might not: Despite his reputation, I don't think Batum is a very good defender. He's kind of like Chris Singleton in that tougher players can overpower him with their strength. His length makes him a good team defender, but if you're looking for him to be the team's lockdown one-on-one wing defender, he's not the guy you think he is.

Likely price tag: Tough to say, really. Back in January, when he rejected the Blazers' offer for an early extension, there were reports that he felt he was lowballed. However, a few weeks ago, he said he's "99 percent sure" the Blazers would match any contract offer. He also seemed to indicate that the offers would approach $10-11 million per season. So, I guess I'll say that.

Verdict: Batum really fits in well with this team, but it will probably take all of that cap space to pry him away from the Blazers. I could see the argument that this team is ready NOW, cap space be dammed, but I still am a bit skittish about handing him $10 million per season.

X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior users will need to choose a permanent username, along with a new password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

I already have a Vox Media account!

Verify Vox Media account

Please login to your Vox Media account. This account will be linked to your previously existing Eater account.

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior MT authors will need to choose a new username and password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.

Join Bullets Forever

You must be a member of Bullets Forever to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Bullets Forever. You should read them.

Join Bullets Forever

You must be a member of Bullets Forever to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Bullets Forever. You should read them.

Spinner.vc97ec6e

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.

tracking_pixel_9347_tracker