The Warriors were in search of veteran role players this offseason who wouldn't cost them a lot, and they had their eye on 32-year-old forward Nic Batum.
The native of France, Batum was waived by the Charlotte Hornets in November and ultimately signed a one-year, $2.56 million contract with the Los Angeles Clippers. He has started all 35 games he has played in this season.
Before the Warriors' second-half opener against the Clippers at Staples Center on Thursday, coach Steve Kerr was asked about Batum's play this season.
"Well, we tried hard on Batum ourselves and we've always admired him from afar," Kerr told reporters on a Zoom conference call. "Players like Batum are difficult to come by. He can guard pretty much four positions, he can make threes and he's a really good passer."
In 29.5 minutes per game, the 13-year NBA vet is averaging 9.0 points per game on 47.2 percent shooting from the field and 43.9 percent shooting from 3-point range. He's also pulling down 4.8 rebounds and dishing out 2.4 assists per game this season.
"He just gives them extra versatility, another secondary playmaker, passer who makes the game easier for everyone," Kerr said. "Very smart. I thought that was probably the best signing of the entire offseason in the NBA when you consider that the Clippers got him for the minimum and here he is starting on a championship-caliber team."
Batum would have fit in very well with the Warriors and likely would've given them an outside threat on the second unit. While Batum has been a starter for the Clippers, he wouldn't have that role on Golden State, so if playing time was important to him, he made the right choice.
Instead of designing plays for Batum, Kerr will have to try to stop him Thursday. Luckily for the Warriors, this is the last time they face the Clippers during the regular season.