NEW YORK — Los Angeles Clippers forward Nicolas Batum is declining his $3.3 million player option to hit free agency, but it is widely expected that he will re-sign a new two-year deal, league sources told 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.
But the Clippers are in the driver’s seat, sources said.
The free agency period begins June 30.
Batumi, 33, played such a vital role for the Clippers the past two seasons, reestablishing his versatility on both sides of the ball. He has emerged as a locker room favorite whose unselfish play and spot-up shot-making ability fits in seamlessly with franchise cornerstones Kawhi Leonard and Paul George.
Batumi started 54 games for the Clippers last season, averaging 8.3 points and 4.3 rebounds, in his second season in Los Angeles. He’s a career 43.7% shooter after spending time with the Portland Trail Blazers and Charlotte Hornets before joining the Clippers in 2020.