When Nicolas Batum is finished playing in the NBA, he might not hang up the shoes right away.
In an interview with Le Maine Libre, the Portland Trail Blazers small forward said that following his time in the league, he’s prepared to play in his home country of France. BeBasket translated a portion of what Batum said:
“If they want me, I want to finish my career at Le Mans. In any case, I did not finish in the NBA. […] I think I’ll do one or two years in France, especially in clubs where I played. I think in Caen and Le Mans. It should be.”
Batum has been a fixture on Team France in International competition, so this news shouldn’t come as a surprise. Last summer, he helped guide Les Bleus to a bronze medal in the FIBA World Cup, averaging 14.6 points.
Prior to that, Batum had participated in the 2013 EuroBasket tournament where France won a gold medal, 2012 Olympics, 2011 Eurobasket (silver) and a couple other events. He’ll be a key component of France’s Eurobasket squad this summer, too.
Perhaps Batum needs the extra work; He slumped through the 2014-15 season, averaging less than 10 points per game for the first time since his rookie campaign (2008-09). Batum shot a career-worst 40.0 percent from the floor and 32.4 percent beyond the arc.
Granted, the 6’8″, 200-pounder continued to present a difficult defensive matchup, and he posted a 103 rating—the second-highest mark by a Portland starter.
Most importantly, though, it would be wise to not get carried away by Batum’s words.
At just 26 years old, Batum has plenty of time to play through a couple more NBA contracts. According to HoopsHype, he’s due nearly $12 million next season and will become an unrestricted free agent after the campaign.
While Batum may eventually play in France, it’s difficult to envision that happening for quite some time.
Photo: USA Today Sports