Clippers bring back Nicolas Batum and sign Kevin Porter Jr.

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LOS ANGELES (AP) — Nicolas Batum is returning to the Los Angeles Clippers, with the team signing the veteran forward along with guard Kevin Porter Jr. on Wednesday.

Batum played in 60 games for the Clippers and Philadelphia 76ers last season, averaging 5.3 points, 4.1 rebounds and 2.1 assists. He was part of the trade that brought James Harden to the Clippers.

Harden, who was a free agent, received a two-year deal that includes a player option. The Clippers officially announced Wednesday that he was staying.

Batum, a 35-year-old Frenchman, is one of seven active NBA players with 10,000 points, 5,000 rebounds and 1,500 3-pointers. He was reluctant to leave the Clippers, having credited coach Tyronn Lue with saving his career.

“It’s hard to find a better connector with a higher IQ than Nico,” said Lawrence Frank, Clippers president of basketball operations. “We didn’t want to lose him last year and we felt his absence. He plays the game the right way, which our fans appreciate, and so do we. We’re thrilled to welcome back the battalion.”

Porter played in Greece last season, where he averaged 22 points, 9.3 rebounds, 6.8 assists and 2.8 steals.

The 24-year-old Seattle native played collegiately at Southern California before being drafted with the 30th overall pick in 2019.

Porter has appeared in 196 games with the Cleveland Cavaliers and Houston Rockets, averaging 15.3 points, 5.0 assists, 4.3 rebounds and 1.1 steals.

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AP NBA: https://apnews.com/hub/nba

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