Portland Trail Blazers: 3 Phoenix Suns-Los Angeles Clippers FA targets

Reggie Jackson, Phoenix Suns, Los Angeles Clippers, Portland Trail Blazers (Photo by Meg Oliphant/Getty Images)
Reggie Jackson, Phoenix Suns, Los Angeles Clippers, Portland Trail Blazers (Photo by Meg Oliphant/Getty Images) /
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Portland Trail Blazers, Los Angeles Clippers, Nicolas Batum, CJ McCollum
CJ McCollum, Portland Trail Blazers. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images) /

The Portland Trail Blazers should seriously consider a reunion with Nicolas Batum

Like Torrey Craig, Nicolas Batum has also been mentioned as a valuable potential addition for the Blazers campaign next season.

That’s due to the career resurgence he also had on the Clippers. While re-establishing himself as a plus-defender on the wings, Batum has also experienced a near-career high in efficiency in his new role in LA.

Through the Clippers first two series these playoffs, Batum has shot 50 percent from the floor and hit over 41 percent of his triples. Even during his turbulent stretch with the Charlotte Hornets, he was never a terrible outside shooter, aside from his last season with the team when he only played 22 games for them.

It’s reasonable to expect at least a solid 3-and-D veteran to walk into the locker room if Portland brings him in. What could put him above other available mercenary wings is his playmaking.

Even with a measly 12 percent usage rate this season, Batum averaged over 2 assists in the regular season.

Back in his Portland days, he made a name for himself as a player who could do a little bit of everything, including create for others. He’s finished six seasons averaging more than four dimes a game. That skillset though, hasn’t been heavily relied upon since 2017-2018, the last season he tallied more than five helpers per night.

It’s obvious that he’s a still a skilled and willing passer. Watch his instincts in play here, as he receives the swing pass from PG13 and immediately dishes a perfect touch pass for a Luke Kennard corner triple.

He tallied three assists against the Clippers in Game 1, spotting as a de facto small-ball center with Serge Ibaka sidelined from a season ending back surgery. In Game 2, with Ibaka and Kawhi Leonard expected to sit, watch how Batum creates for his teammates with the added responsibility.

The Clippers don’t have a pass-first player on the roster aside from Rajon Rondo, but they still had an efficient offense due to their multitude of secondary playmakers, including Batum. Between the perimeter defense, outside shooting, and creation he would bring to the table, Portland should do all they can to see if they can ignite a reunion with the seasoned vet.

Next. Don't expect a major Trail Blazers trade this offseason. dark