France coach confirms Nicolas Batum will make OQT debut in semis vs Turkey
Nicolas Batum dressed for France's game against New Zealand on Thursday but didn't play after failing to get clearance from the NBA. Jerome Ascano

NICOLAS Batum will finally see action for France on Saturday in its semifinal match against Turkey in the Fiba Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Manila.

France coach Vincent Collet said he expects Batum’s clearance from the NBA to arrive on Friday, days after the NBA star formally signed a fresh contract with the Charlotte Hornets on Thursday.

“He will be playing,” said Collet.

Collet said he had planned to play Batum on Thursday against New Zealand and the French player showed up in uniform, but the NBA clearance didn’t arrive on the same day his new contract with the Hornets took effect.

“I would like him to play tonight but it was not possible because we didn’t receive the guarantee from the NBA. He signed the contract today but there was no validation (from the NBA). We expect it tomorrow,” said Collet.

Batum agreed to a five-year, $120 million contract to stay with the Hornets, but the contract only took effect on July 7 when free agents can officially sign new deals under NBA rules.

The NBA-wide moratorium on free agent signings prevented Batum from playing for Les Bleus in the preliminary round, including the match against Gilas Pilipinas on Tuesday.

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