NBA

Bismack Biyombo.

Bismack Biyombo is keen to stay in Toronto and may be open to a discounted contract

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The Toronto Raptors are looking forward with optimism having enjoyed their best ever NBA campaign. After setting a new franchise record for wins in the regular season, they then pushed the Cleveland Cavaliers to game six in their first Eastern Conference Finals appearance. 

Their focus has now turned to the approaching free agency period and the futures of DeMar DeRozan and Bismack Biyombo. The duo are unrestricted free agents and will be able to talk with whichever franchise they please this summer. 

The future of DeRozan seems to be paramount, however, the Canadian franchise will be keen to tie down Biyombo after his breakout season and impressive performances in the absence of Jonas Valanciunas in the Conference Finals - most notably his 26 rebound outing in game three. 

Having joined the Raptors last year, it seems the center is keen to extend his stay in the six and, according to Andrew Walker of Sportsnet 590, the Democratic Republic of Congo star would be open to taking a hometown discount to remain with the organisation. 

Despite the increase in cap space for the 2016-17 season, the Raptors may have an issue keeping hold of the 23-year-old. 

The extension in Valanciunas' contract comes into play this summer and will see the Lithuania bank an extra $10 million per year. Having pocketed $4.6m this year, he will earn $14.4m over the next 12 months. 

Along with the big contracts for Kyle Lowry and DeMarre Carroll, and the expected max contract it will likely take to keep DeRozan north of the border, they may struggle to put forward a suitable offer for Biyombo. 

Cleveland Cavaliers v Toronto Raptors - Game Six

Of course, money is not everything, but reports are suggesting that the former Charlotte man could command in excess of $15 million a year. 

There will be a number of organisations keeping a keen eye on proceedings in Toronto, hoping they can convince the player his future belongs elsewhere. 

He averaged 5.5 points, 1.6 blocks and eight rebounds per 22 minutes a game during the regular season and increased his productivity to 6.2 points and 9.4 rebounds a night during the playoffs as he deputised for the injured Valanciunas.

Biyombo is a monster on defence, but just four years into his NBA career, the 6'9" star has been touted to improve significantly on offence and become a real two-way threat in the paint. 

Toronto will be hoping to build on their inaugural Conference Finals appearance and go one step further next year. They have some huge decisions to make in the offseason if they are to close the gap on the Cleveland Cavaliers. 

It seems Biyombo is keen to stay on board the proverbial ship and his willingness to remain is the sort of desire and character that will help the franchise improve. 

Topics:
Toronto Raptors
Atlantic Division
Eastern Conference
NBA
Bismack Biyombo
DeMar DeRozan
Kyle Lowry

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