Charlotte Hornets: What is Nicolas Batum’s trade value?

CHARLOTTE, NC - JANUARY 12: Joe Ingles /

With the NBA trade deadline fast approaching, the Charlotte Hornets are in need of a shakeup. Many fans believe that parting ways with veteran Nic Batum is one answer. Using a few different tools, we’re going to see what we can get.

I like Nicolas Batum. He seems like a pretty decent guy. It’s fair to say, however, that he’s underperformed this season. Part of that is due to injuries, sure, but there’s been something else. It often feels like he doesn’t know how to work within the playcalling and overall flow of the game. Whether that’s due to the addition of Dwight Howard is questionable, but it’s becoming more and more clear that he doesn’t gel with this current Charlotte Hornets squad.

So, maybe it’s time to part ways with Nic. What kind of trade value does he have? Sadly, with Nic set to make $24 million dollars next season, finding a suitor willing to take him would be difficult, especially without giving up something valuable in return. Still, we can explore some options. Here are just a few

I’ll be using a combination of ESPN’s trade machine and NBA 2K18 using its “start today” feature in My League. I’m adding in 2K because it actually factors in draft picks, which we may have to part with if we’re going to get equal value.

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Nic Batum to the Orlando Magic

Rumors are circulating around Orlando shipping Evan Fournier, Elfrid Payton, and/or Mario Hezonja. Let’s try that out. Trading Batum and Johnny O’Bryant to the Magic for Evan Fournier and Elfrid Payton actually works according to ESPN’s trade machine.

Unfortunately, in 2K, the Magic want two first-round picks. Apparently, the Magic in 2K doesn’t want to part ways with Fournier as much as the real Magic do. This would free up about $4 million in cap space, but the team would still be well over the cap by about $14.5 million.

Batum to the Chicago Bulls for Nikola Mirotic

Mirotic has been the talk of trade rumors as well. According to the Trade Machine, Batum and Johnny O’Bryant for Mirotic and Robin Lopez is feasible. This works in NBA 2K as well, but of course, the Bulls want a draft pick as well. Unfortunately, this puts the Hornets even more in the hole in terms of cap space by about $2 million. Not to mention, I’m not sure the Hornets need Lopez.

Blake Griffin to the Hornets

Blake Griffin is often the subject of trade rumors from year to year. Having him alongside Dwight Howard would make for a pretty formidable front court. Apparently, Batum and Marvin Williams for Griffin works according to the trade machine. It works in 2K as well… if you include a first-round draft pick.

Honestly, given how the Hornets tend to draft and how this current draft class is looking, that might be a decent sacrifice. This would also free up about $6 million in cap space. Personally, I like this deal, even if he is getting on the older side. He’s still averaging over 22 points a game and it would give the Hornets another big name player. The real question would be if he could co-exist with Dwight.

Other, less “glamorous” options

2K has a “trade finder” option where you pick a player or players and/or draft picks and see what offers you can get. We’ll look at some options. Cleveland offers the Hornets Iman Shumpert and J.R. Smith for Batum and Michael-Carter Williams. I don’t like that at all, but those are some fairly notable names and it works on the trade machine as well.

Dallas offered Wesley Mathews for Batum and O’Bryant. Matthews is 31, but he’s still averaging 12 points a game and shoots 38% from three. Plus, it frees up $6 million in cap space. You could do worse, I suppose. Still not ideal, however.

There are couple other trades I tried, but couldn’t get it done without giving up a first-round draft pick. Frankly, a lot of teams aren’t set to take on Nic’s contract. Slim pickings to say the least.

Next: How does Charlotte's All-Time NBA 2K18 team stack up?

Alas, this is all conjecture and there are tons of other deals that could be done and that’s not even getting into three-team trades. Still, it’s clear the Hornets need to do something, even if it’s just to appease disappointed fans. Does that include trading Nic? Guess we’ll see in the coming weeks.