Can the Philadelphia 76ers convince Nicolas Batum to return next season?

Veteran forward Nicolas Batum has been a godsend for the Philadelphia 76ers this season, but can they convince him to return next year amid retirement rumors?
Nicolas Batum
Nicolas Batum / Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

In a league increasingly dictated by star power, the Philadelphia 76ers have managed to click on the services of less heralded players to balance out their similar star-heavy attack to great effect. That has been particularly true for Nicolas Batum, who has been a godsend for the franchise in his current ancillary role.

Since arriving from the LA Clippers via the James Harden deal, the veteran forward has been a staple in the starting lineup, having started 14 of 17 games for the 76ers. His numbers have remained meager, but the Frenchman quickly proved to be a perfect fit in the opening group as a low-usage, pull-and-plug piece.

That being said, Batum is on an expiring deal and is already 35 years old. And given that his camp has hinted at him potentially retiring after this season, can the 76ers convince him to return to the team next year?

Can the Philadelphia 76ers convince Nicolas Batum to return next season?

Batum’s wife, Lily, bared that the 16-year veteran would retire after the 2024 Summer Olympics next year. There was even some speculation about him potentially opting to hang it up after his trade to the 76ers, though Batum quashed those talks by, well, suiting up for the team.

Still, he is an obvious flight risk next season either due to his free agency situation or a possible retirement. Fortunately, the 76ers could simply offer him a deal at the ballpark of the veteran’s minimum or a tad above that. It’s also an advantage that the team is considered to be a title contender and has the tools to improve the roster even more next year.

Should Philly follow through on their expected lucrative summer in 2024, Batum may not be able to reprise his role as a starter. However, he clearly has enough left in the tank to be a role player off the bench at the least.

Given how Nicolas Batum has become a seamless connector for the Philadelphia 76ers, the franchise should try to convince him to return next season. His savvy play which comes at a cheap price is something that can give them a small edge over some of their competitions in the league.

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