Batum is scheduled to make more than $52 million over the next two seasons
Easily the biggest reason the Hornets need to move on from Batum is the fact that he isn’t living up to his contract. He will count $25.6 million toward the cap this season and over $27 million next season. Based on the stats he has put up, he’s been far from bad, but he hasn’t performed nearly well enough to make that kind of money. To put into perspective just how massive Batum’s contract is, he is making roughly the same amount as Giannis Antetokounmpo–last year’s MVP.
With that being said, it’s important that the Hornets find a trade partner willing to take on a salary of Batum’s magnitude. That’s why the Bucks and 76ers could be a possible trade destination. Both teams could use depth at the two or three spots, and both can realistically afford his contract. Granted still, the Hornets would likely have to take a bad contract in return, however, Charlotte should be able to work it out where they could release that player while having to pay little to none of his salary. Ultimately, the main factor in a Batum trade would be his contract. Charlotte would effectively employ a “salary dump” with the intention of freeing up money for the future.