Nicolas Batum isn't quite Deron Williams, but he's a legit NBA starter that 29 teams would love to pry away from the Portland Trail Blazers. Instead, a team based in Lorraine, France, has landed the French forward, as ESPN's Marc Stein quotes Batum's agent as saying a deal with SLUC Nancy will be finalized this week. That would have the 22-year-old Batum playing for Nancy during the NBA lockout.
SLUC Nancy is the reigning French Pro A League champion and a participant in the 2011-12 Euroleague campaign; that's notable, considering Williams signed with a non-Euroleague team and many had considered Euroleague squads to be unlikely landing spots for what could be short-term rentals from the NBA. (All NBA players under contract will have to return to their NBA teams as soon as a lockout ends, meaning that foreign teams that sign the locked-out players could get them for just a few games or months.)
There is, of course, a special circumstance: Batum is French and has played in the Pro A before (albeit for Le Mans, not Nancy). Note that this is not the Pro A team owned by Tony Parker; that's ASVEL in Lyon.
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