A few days ago, I linked to a report regarding Bismack Biyombo's contractual issue. The gist of the report was this: FIBA predictably declined the Bobcats' clearance to sign Biyombo, due to Biyombo's current contract with ACB Spanish team, Fuenlabrada. Biyombo's contract with the team consists of 2 more years and $1.4 million. How will this affect Biyombo's immediate future with the Bobcats? I'll try to provide some clarity after the jump.
NBA rules allow teams to pay $500,000 of money in buyout situations, meaning that, in the unlikely event that an NBA season happens this year, difficulty could arise with Biyombo's ability to play in 2011. It's also possible that Biyombo could get the necessary $900,000 for the buyout through loans from his agent (etc.), but that course of action can't be assumed. While this may seem troubling to some Bobcats' fans upon first glance, it shouldn't be particularly worrying for two reasons:
- A 2011-2012 NBA season? It might not happen at all.
- If Biyombo was unable to pay the rest of the buyout funds, he'd most likely only miss one year, and that wouldn't be the worst thing (especially in a lockout environment).
Let's address #1 first: You'd be hard-pressed to find good news regarding current CBA negotiations (I refer you to this
, and this
). The owners and players aren't anywhere near seeking to compromise currently, and decertification by the NBPA seems imminent, coupled with a legal battle and long, drawn out negotiations. Larry Coon, noted CBA expert, believes there's a 40 percent chance there won't be a season at all
. I hate to say "Don't worry, there might not be an NBA season at all!" as a point of positivity, but the reality still remains. Biyombo wouldn't miss a year of NBA play if there was no season, and I'd be surprised if he didn't or couldn't pay the $200,000 (after the input of the allowed $500,000 from the Bobcats) needed the following season. It's highly unlikely that Biyombo wouldn't play during the 2012-2013 year, if there is indeed no NBA season (in which case my reaction would be similar to this
As for the second reason, it might not have the worst effect on Biyombo's development if he remained with his Spanish team. Unlike what some think, I tend to believe that Biyombo is the age that he, medical tests, and coaches that have worked with him say he is
. Given his lack of experience and youth, another year spent playing overseas wouldn't necessarily be detrimental. If Biyombo can't play during a nonexistent NBA season, there's no reason he shouldn't play in Europe against the second best competition in the world. If there is indeed an NBA (probably shortened) season, given how young Biyombo is, the playing time provided by playing in a lesser league might be more extensive and helpful in his improvement as a player. If he's afforded the opportunity to play a key role with a team, and do it well, it shouldn't be an issue that seriously effects his NBA career. He'll be back for the 2012 season, still only 19 years old, and with more experience.
There's a tendency during a news-starved lockout to jump on everything report and hyperbolize its effect. This situation is no different. Is there a chance that Bismack Biyombo could miss the 2011 NBA season? Yes, though it isn't inevitable, or even likely. Would it have a hazardous effect on him as a player? Probably not. Will there even be a 2011 season? Maybe, but if there isn't, Biyombo will have a place to play where he can gain experience.
Though the majority of this is speculation (because it deals with the current uncertain NBA future), this news should be taken with the understanding that it's unlikely Biyombo misses any NBA games. In conflicts like this, there's a certain urgency to negotiations. I'm sure that Biyombo, who seems committed to playing in the NBA as soon as possible (and leading the league in rebounds and blocks
), will take the necessary steps to make the buyout happen before NBA action occurs, as will the Bobcats. Whether that's in 2011 or 2012, the effects of this situation aren't as dire as they appear.
Rest (sort of) easy, Bobcats' fans. Bismack Biyombo should arrive in Charlotte as soon as possible, with the wind at his back and few negative effects lingering from his current contractual problems, even if the situation isn't immediately resolved.