With a void at small forward and money to spend, many assumed the Sacramento Kings would be interested in Blazers restricted free agent, Nicolas Batum. Geoff Petrie had all but spelled out their intentions on Batum and other restricted free agents, but the Kings’ desire for the Lisieux native apparently wasn’t mutual. While a handful of teams were on Batum’s radar according to his agent Bouna Ndiaye, Sacramento apparently wasn’t one of them:
Before the free agency period began, Ndiaye said they had four teams circled as potential suitors: Toronto, New Orleans, Minnesota, and San Antonio.
Granted, this was before the free agency period began. However, given Batum’s extremely quick interest in the Timberwolves (within two days) and the fact that they didn’t mention Sacramento prior to the free agency period, fully knowing the Kings void at the three and available funds, one could reasonably assume there was a lack of interest.
That all said, this shouldn’t be taken as the insult it appears to be on the surface.
Batum, who has strong relationships with both Ricky Rubio and Tony Parker, appears to have a desire to play with talent with whom he already has a relationship with. The same can be said for current Hornets head coach Monty Williams, who was an assistant for the Blazers during Batum’s first two seasons. In addition to a desire for close ties, their ease of access (Toronto, Minneapolis) to his home country of France seems to be a sticking factor as both have direct flights.
It was a long shot for the Kings to sign Batum, but now we have a better understanding of why the two sides never seemed to get much further than a phone call – and it’s tough to blame the Kings for this one.