Batum cancels workouts; agent says he 'feels fine'

Updated: June 20, 2008, 5:59 PM ET
By Chad Ford | ESPN.com

French swingman Nicolas Batum, projected to be a late first-round NBA draft pick, stopped participating in a workout with the Toronto Raptors earlier this week after a stress echo test -- a treadmill test that measures the health of the heart -- came back in the "borderline" area.

Ford: Mock draft

ESPN Insider Chad Ford projects the first round of the NBA draft in his latest mock. Story

"There is an issue with Batum, and nothing is clear," his agent, Bouna Ndiaye, told ESPN.com on Friday afternoon. "The number [the score on his stress echo test] could be a borderline problem if he had a family history of heart problems. But I talked to Nicolas's mother and she said his father didn't die of a heart problem. His team in France and the French national team test him regularly and said they've never seen any indication that he had a heart issue."

A Sports Illustrated report in February said that Batum's father, Henry, suffered a "massive heart attack" and died at the free throw line while playing pro basketball in France when Nicolas was 2 years old. According to Ndiaye, Batum's father died of an aneurysm, not a heart attack.

Raptors GM Bryan Colangelo, reached by phone, refused to comment on the situation.

Batum was scheduled to be in the three-team workout in New Jersey on Friday, but didn't play. He did take a physical, and Ndiaye said results were similar to those in Toronto. Ndiaye said Batum will undergo another test over the weekend and, if it goes well, he'll be able to begin workouts again next week.

Batum also has canceled an open workout in New York scheduled for Saturday.

"He feels fine," Ndiaye said. "He wants to work out. He's been doing great. This morning he really wanted to work out with Joe Alexander. This is disappointing. I really don't think this is a real issue."

It's unclear whether the issue will affect Batum's draft status. It does come at a bad time. After wowing NBA scouts at the Nike Hoop Summit in April 2007, his draft stock has been on the decline. His play in the French league this year wasn't stellar. Neither was a brief appearance at this year's Reebok Eurocamp.

However, he's had some strong individual workouts for teams and was projected as a potential pick somewhere between 17 and 27.

Chad Ford covers the NBA for ESPN Insider.

Chad Ford | email

Senior Writer, NBA Insider