Why the Milwaukee Bucks should reignite their interest in Nicolas Batum

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - FEBRUARY 06 (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - FEBRUARY 06 (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images) /

If the Milwaukee Bucks are putting together a list of potential free agent targets this offseason, one player that would not be surprising to see on it is Nicolas Batum.

The Bucks have expressed interest in Batum previously, as they pursued him in November of 2020 after he was bought out by the Charlotte Hornets. As reported in this article from Antione Pimmel, Batum’s agent, Jeremy Medjana, stated that the Bucks were among six teams targeting his client following that buyout. Batum himself confirmed this interest in a later episode of the Posted Up podcast with Chris Haynes by stating that the Bucks were after him before he ultimately signed a deal with the LA Clippers. After two years in LA, Batum is set to have a player option for 2022-23, which could see him hit the free agency market once again this offseason. If so, the Bucks would be wise to target him.

Why the Milwaukee Bucks should reignite their interest in Nicolas Batum

Among the biggest reasons why the Milwaukee Bucks should target Nicolas Batum if he does hit the free agent market is his versatility. The 6-foot-8 forward has played several positions during his career, including shooting guard, small forward, and power forward. Lineup versatility was an obvious flaw for the Bucks throughout the 2021-22 season, so adding a player like Batum that is capable of moving from position to position would be useful for head coach Mike Bundeholzer. Batum’s ability to play the power forward position could be of interest to the Bucks, given their dire need to add a small ball four this offseason. The 33-year-old would be a great fit in those small lineups for Milwaukee, giving them a veteran to utilize when Giannis Antetokounmpo is at the center position.

In addition to being a versatile piece, Batum is also just a great role player in general, which was on full display with the Clippers. Over the last two years in LA, Batum thrived in his role by averaging a solid 8.2 points, 4.5 rebounds, two assists, and a steal in 26.2 minutes per game, doing a touch of everything when he was out on the floor. His shooting splits are particularly eye-catching as he hit 46.3 percent of his field-goal attempts while also burying 40.2 percent of his 3-point attempts on 4.3 attempts in that timeframe. Reliable outside shooting like that would only make Batum’s fit in Milwaukee more logical, given how much they depend on that perimeter shot year in and year out. The forward could fill in at whatever position the Bucks need while knocking down his triples and playing serviceable defense, which means he checks off several boxes on their end.

While Batum would be a great fit for the Bucks, any hope of him joining them this offseason first hinges on him declining his player option for next season. If he does not, he will remain in LA for a third consecutive season, which would obviously take him off Milwaukee’s board. As free agency inches closer, the Milwaukee Bucks should simply keep an eye on the situation, as Batum could help solve several of the team’s lingering roster issues.

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Stay tuned to see what exactly Batum does with his player option and whether or not the Bucks ultimately reignite their interest.