Toronto Raptors center Bismack Biyombo is getting a lot of attention ever since he showed what he can do in playing with their backs against the wall in the Eastern Conference Finals against the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Despite losing the series, many have seen Biyombo’s potential that teams are reportedly hot in pursuit of the big man in free agency this offseason. However, the 23-year old Congolese player stated that he is willing to take a discount on his contract to re-sign with the Raptors.
Teams like the Los Angeles Lakers and the New York Knicks have already been asking for a meeting with him to discuss if he is interested in listening to their respective offers that could make him one of the highest paid centers in the league next season. But Biyombo has already insisted that he wants to return to the Raptors even if it means trimming down his price tag.
Raptors general manager Masai Ujiri has stated that their priority is to bring everyone back for next season, however, it is going to be difficult considering that they have to make sure that DeMar DeRozan does not go anywhere and that would require them to give a maximum contract and will greatly affect their salary cap situation.
It would not be so wise for them either to give Biyombo a $17 million paycheck so as just not to lose him through free agency, but that will likely be the scenario for the Raptors.
Thus, with Biyombo becoming a restricted free agent, meaning a team can make an offer with him and the Raptors have to match that offer or else he will have no recourse but to take the higher offer given to him.
According to Andrew Walker of SportsNet 590 The Fan, the discount could not work well with the Raptors as they do not own his ‘Bird Rights’ and thus cannot go over the salary cap to sign him.
The Raptors have signed extension contract with Jonas Valanciunas, which will take effect next season and with the combined contracts that they are going to set up with DeMarre Carroll, Kyle Lowry, and the max contract to keep DeMar DeRozan will surely affect their bid to keep Biyombo at bay as well.
The Lakers have over $64 million budget for this summer as part of their rebuilding process and they are in the hunt for prize talents such as Biyombo to fill in their roster. That is if the Raptors could be the first to offer a discount offer and have Biyombo sign before the free agency season opens.
Biyombo will have to weigh things well for him to decide on his future NBA career and that might be with the Lakers. But the summer is still a long way to go and things can still happen between now and by the time the free agency opens.
The Raptors are hoping to keep its core players intact, but situations might not allow them to be and thus tough decisions must be made in order to survive going into the next season.
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