UPDATE: Batum signed a five-year max deal with the Hornets according to Shams Charania of The Vertical, which shouldn’t come as much of a surprise. The original post is below.
How much is a phone call worth in today’s day and age? Well, it looks like the Wizards are about to find out.
Washington is reportedly still in the running to sign free agent Nicolas Batum, but it looks like they’re decidedly in the second-tier on Batum’s wish list, according to Marc Spears of The Undefeated:
Source tells @MarcJSpearsESPN that Nic Batum will meet with Hornets and Mavs in Dallas and will talk to Knicks, Lakers, Wizards on phone.— Tim MacMahon (@espn_macmahon) June 30, 2016
There’s good news and bad news here. Let’s start with the bad: The teams getting face-to-face meetings (Charlotte and Dallas) have the upper-hand here, and it’s hard to imagine either bungling their recruitment so badly that Washington becomes a serious option.
More on Batum
More on Batum
The Hornets can offer Batum the most money, since they can offer him a fifth year with higher annual raises. If Charlotte, for whatever reason, decided not to offer a fifth year, the Mavericks would are the best option among the other four teams listed because they’ve had the most success among the teams listed and Texas has no state tax, so Batum would get to keep a little bit more of the money he would be paid.
That said, there are a couple of reasons for optimism. First, this should help dispel the notion that Kevin Durant’s refusal to meet with the Wizards hurts their ability to recruit free agents. They’re getting a meeting with one of the top free agents available this summer, even if it’s just a phone call to begin. It looks like their reputation around the league hasn’t taken a hit from their pursuit of Durant.
Dallas’ interest in Batum should serve as a signal that the Mavericks might not be interested in bringing Chandler Parsons back. If so, that helps the Wizards chances in that race. Say what you want about the risks that would come along with signing Parsons, but at least this might help give them a chance to seriously get into that discussion.
And of course, if by some chance things fell through with the first two teams, you’d have to think Batum would prefer the Wizards to either the Knicks or Lakers, so they’ve got that going for them as well.