NBA Rumors: Bismack Biyombo Targeted By Boston Celtics, Los Angeles Lakers In Free Agency

NBA rumors are swirling that the Toronto Raptors’ reserve center Bismack Biyombo will leave the team this off-season for a large payday, according to multiple media reports.

Sports Illustrated reported this week that Bismack Biyombo opted out of his two-year, $5.6 million contract with the Toronto Raptors after playing a single season with the Canadian team. The back-up center had only seven days after the NBA franchise’s last game — May 27 in the Eastern Conference Finals against the Cleveland Cavaliers — to terminate the agreement in hopes of signing a higher-paying contract elsewhere.

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Sporting News has suggested that Bismack Biyombo may be in line for as much as $20 million annually due to the lack of depth during this summer’s free agency period and the surge of TV revenue raising the salary cap for the 2016-2017 season.

“For someone like (Bismack Biyombo), I think when you look at a guy like Tyson Chandler and what he got from Phoenix last summer (four years, $52 million), that’s where you start for a contract. But you factor in the cap spike and it’s probably going to be high, I’d say, $16-17 million. It’ll be a heck of a $17 million-per-year gamble.”

The article further conceded that $20 million per season wasn’t out of the question for Bismack Biyombo. “And another Eastern Conference executive said Biyombo’s price tag could wind up being even a bit higher,” Sean Deveney wrote for Sporting News. “‘With the way free agency could wind up going, three years and $60 (million) would be my guess,’ he said.”

The next team to sign Bismack is doing so after his high-level play in the final 22 games of the regular season and in 10 post-season games. Bismack Biyombo finished the regular season averaging only 5.5 points, 8.0 rebounds and 1.6 blocks a game this year in 22.2 minutes per outing.

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How the Congolese professional basketball player earned his chance at a bigger payday was his season-ending play, CBS Sports reported. “He thrived in that role, rebounding and protecting the paint at an elite level,” the article explained. “He also significantly improved as a free throw shooter and pick-and-roll finisher.”

Although the Chicago Bulls, Houston Rockets and Portland Trail Blazers may all need a center, Sporting News projected the Boston Celtics and Los Angeles Lakers as the top-two teams that could land Bismack Biyombo for 2016-2017. The astronomical jump in the salary cap would allow for both Boston and Los Angeles to pay a higher market price for Bismack than the Toronto Raptors, according to the article.

“It also helps that some well-heeled and high-profile teams will be in need of a center who brings rim protection this summer. Boston GM Danny Ainge said that would be among the Celtics’ top targets, and Boston will be a team with interest in Biyombo. So will the Lakers, as they are known to be eagerly seeking a defensive big man to put with Julius Randle in the frontcourt.”

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Bismack Biyombo has expressed interest in remaining with the Toronto Raptors, but he would not be able to make the kind of money that’s available on the open market. Although winning is reportedly more important than starting to Bismack, financial gain may end up determining where Biyombo plays next season.

“At the end of the day there are situations and scenarios that you can’t control. It’s a lot of [stuff] that I have to think about but at the same time, like I said, I love it [in Toronto], man… And once the time comes, there’s the right people that will handle it and I will hope to be back here again.”

It’s unlikely Bismack Biyombo can stay with the Raptors as their starting center — Jonas Valanciunas — signed a four-year, $64 million contract extension last year. The NBA franchise would be hard-pressed to pay Bismack Biyombo anywhere near his market value while attempting to resign DeMar DeRozan at a maximum contract, too.

What team do you think will sign Bismack Biyombo this summer? Leave your thoughts in the comment section below.

[Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images]