The two French internationals Evan Fournier (Orlando) and Nicolas Batum (Charlotte) have decided to exercise the option they had in their contract to stay in their franchise for one more season.
Evan Fournier and Nicolas Batum will not be testing the market this fall! While the free agency will begin on Friday, two days after the draft, the two French players have decided not to become free and to lift the player option (option which allows the player to decide whether to stay or to leave, whatever opinion of his frankness) they had in their contract, according to the always knowledgeable Shams Charania of .. The Orlando full-back, 28 years old and arrived in 2014 at the Magic, will therefore remain in Florida, and will receive $ 17 million next season (which will begin, let us remember, on December 22).
Evan Fournier has just signed the best statistical season of his career, averaging 18.5 points, 3.2 assists and 2.6 rebounds in 66 regular season games and 12.8 points, 2.6 assists and 4 rebounds average in 5 play-off matches. The Magic certainly managed to qualify for the second consecutive season in the play-offs, but doing less well than in 2019 (8th against 7th), and failed in the first round of the play-offs against Milwaukee (4-1 ). Last June, Fournier explained that if the season had been normal, without coronavirus or economic uncertainties, he would have tested the market for free players, but that the situation was different this year. He will therefore stay at the Magic for one more year. Even if the possibility of a “trade” during the season, so that Fournier does not go free at the end of next season if he does not extend by then, can never be ruled out.
Batum hasn’t played since January
If seeing Evan Fournier stay in Orlando may be a little surprise, it is not really the case for Nicolas Batum, who will benefit from the $ 27.13 million Charlotte is offering him in the huge contract he signed in 2016 and which will make him the 41st highest paid player in the League, according to Hoopshype.
The soon-to-32-year-old winger has played very little this season, averaging 3.6 points, 3 assists and 4.5 rebounds in 22 regular-season games. He also played his last game in the Hornets jersey during the meeting in Paris against Milwaukee on January 24. James Borrego, the Hornets coach, has given him a role of “big brother” with the young people of the team, and it is not certain that this role will change next season, within the franchise chaired by Michael Jordan, who failed to qualify for the Orlando “bubble”. Batum will therefore have a new season in Charlotte, and like Fournier, and as in 2016, he will find himself free next summer, at the time of the Olympic Games, which had posed some problems before the Rio Olympics.