Bismack Biyombo in the States but Availability In Question


The Charlotte Bobcats highest 2011 draft pick may or may not be available to play on opening day.  It is almost assured that he won’t be available on the first day of training camp, if it is in fact December 9th, according to Charlotte Observer’s Rick Bonnell.

Bismack Biyombo, who the Bobcats made their highest pick since Adam Morrison in 2006 in a draft day trade, has been working out in Florida all summer.  There are tons of pro workout spots around.  There’s a great one in Charlotte that many of the Bobcats and guys from the area in the league have been working out at.  Bismack has been at a place like that, which to me is great.  I’d rather he be competing though.

I think, and this might be bold or stupid, and it’s the first time I’ve said so to anyone, but I think that Bismack Biyombo is the perfect candidate for D-League assignment.  If you think about it, the biggest question mark in the draft, the one guy that everyone said had more upside than anyone needs a soft opening.  You know what “upside” is right?  It’s a way of saying “I think he’ll be good, but I could be way off so don’t hold me to any prediction either way.”  A soft opening, as in pre-grand opening, as in managing expectations, would be perfect for a guy like Bismack.  The Bobcats don’t have to have him right away, speaking of managing expectations.  Dude needs the work.

Well, that idea is nice and everything, but umm…one huge snag.  He might not be allowed to play anywhere that Baloncesto Fuenlabrada doesn’t say he can.  They’re going to want a large sum of money from somebody.  They aren’t sending him off the same way Deron Williams’s Turkish team did, that’s for damn sure.  I like the idea I heard floated when someone asked one of these NBA insiders about anyone possibly “stuck” overseas, such as Williams or any of the Denver Nuggets that went to China and signed a “no out” clause, as most Chinese teams supposedly require.  Whoever it was said “Well the teams don’t honor contracts in Europe or wherever, why should the players?”  Which is an excellent point, especially as it pertains to Bismack Biyombo.

Bismack is suing the team, not for not allowing him to break his contract, but he and his lawyers contend that they broke their contract with him first.  As I said, teams screw over players in other parts of the world all the time and I’m not exactly sure how or why but Biyombo thinks he got screwed and that voids the Spanish team’s rights to him.  There is a civil trial set for December 19th in Spain, which, if you remember the supposed opening of training camp, is 10 days past.

If Bismack wins and his trial lasts a day, it’s possible he could be in a Charlotte Bobcats uniform on December 20th, 6 days before the likely first game for the Bobcats.  If he loses, who knows?  Fuenlabrada wants $1.5 million or 2 years of Bismack’s services and the Bobcats are only allowed to pay $500,000 of that to get him before his contract is up.

I want the dude involved in some way in the Bobcats organization.  The ultimate would be for him to be working out with his future teammates, when the season gets here he rolls on up to Maine to play a bit with the Red Claws, cut his teeth up there, whoop up on some 30 year old dudes that are still holding onto their dream and then, when he’s ready, call him up for the final 2 months of the regular season.  That’s not going to happen.  Bismack Biyombo won’t be available until a few days before the first game is played and I have a feeling that without seeing him on the practice court against his teammates, Coach Paul Silas and Rich Cho/Rod Higgins/Michael Jordan won’t be comfortable putting him in the hands of their “associate” team’s coach up in Maine.  So he’ll ride the end of the bench, get garbage minutes and generally, feel like Alexis Ajinca to a lot of fans.  Highly drafted, highly touted and highly absent from meaningful basketball.  During the season, in practice a guy like that has a different agenda than the rotation guys.  He wants to get work in and get better and feel out the game, but the other guys are trying to win basketball games and gel as a team.  It won’t work out well if he is available this year.

It’s a really bad “catch 22” situation here.  On one hand, you want him to come in, perform or at least be seen in a uniform and take pics and be part of the team, even if he doesn’t play.  Fans need to feel like that 7th overall pick was worth something, even if it’s a tease in the final 5 minutes of a blow out.  On the other hand, you want a guy you have that much invested in to have an opportunity to come up and to be impacted the way your organization wants.  You don’t need a Ricky Rubio hanging out there that everyone says “What the hell?  Is it a wasted pick?  Is that guy ever going to get here?”  There are already enough questions and restless folks in Charlotte as it pertains to the NBA and Bobcats anyway, why add more?

It’s a tough situation, but that’s what the Rich Cho/Rod Higgins front office knew they were getting into.  I read a post from Andy Katz the day of or the day before the Draft talking about him and this buyout thing.  People knew it’d be an issue.  I just wish that Bismack hadn’t been saying he’d definitely be in uniform on opening night.  I’m definitely hopeful, but not expecting that things work out for this year and Bismack Biyombo and the Charlotte Bobcats.

Andrew Barraclough is Senior Editor for, a Charlotte Bobcats Blog on the Fansided Network.  Follow him on Twitter @therobertogato and Like the site on Facebook.