Charlotte Hornets General Manager Rich Cho announced on June 24 that the team has acquired Nicolas Batum from Portland in exchange for Gerald Henderson and Noah Vonleh. Below is the transcript from Cho's conference call with the media.
We’re really excited to acquire Nicolas Batum form Portland. He provides a lot of things to our team that we’re excited about. He provides a 3-point shooting threat. He’s a career 36 percent shooter behind the arc. He’s a good defender and can guard multiple positions. He’s only 26 years old and he’s been in the NBA for seven seasons, so he gives us experience, yet he is still in his prime. We’re really excited to have him. He’s going to be a great addition to this team and I know the coaching staff is excited to have him. I’d like to thank Gerald [Henderson] and Noah [Vonleh] for all their hard work and professionalism here. We wish them the best in Portland.
On if this was what Cho was talking about in his media availability last week about finding other ways to acquire shooting:
Yes, we were looking at a lot of different trades, and like I said in the press conference, we were looking to address shooting in number of different ways – either through the draft or with trades, so today was the start of that.
On if he sees Batum as a two and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist as a three:
Yes, [Nicolas] is a wing, so we see him starting at the two-guard spot with MKG starting at the three. [Nicolas] has played two and three in his career.
On how hard it was to part with Noah Vonleh after one season:
It was a difficult decision to give up Noah. He has a lot of talent, he’s a hard worker, but you have to give up something to get something, and we wish Noah the best of luck.
On how this effects the Hornets plans entering the draft:
We’re still going to go with the best player available. We still have the same mindset.
On the Hornets recently acquiring players with versatility and how much that helps:
I feel like with the more versatility the players can provide, the more it adds to your team offensively and defensively. [Nicolas] is a guy who can play multiple positions. I’ve seen him guard point-guards at times in situational instances. He’s going to be a valuable member of our team on both ends of the floor.
On the importance of acquiring some bigger players in Spencer Hawes and now Batum:
We added some size with Spencer [Hawes] and Nicolas is a very good size for his position – he’s a good 6’8”, so we feel like we’ve added size and versatility throughout.