The Toronto Raptors have some big decisions to make this summer and a lot of them rest heavily on the future of some of their key players.
It's been well documented that DeMar DeRozan is set to be an unrestricted free agent this coming summer and general manager Masai Ujiri has already insisted that retaining the shooting-guard is the organisation's number one priority.
However, after putting in some breakout performances in the playoffs, all of a sudden Bismack Biyombo's future is also a hot topic.
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The Congo-born center stepped in for the injured Jonas Valanciunas during the postseason and averaged 6.2 points, 9.4 rebounds and 1.4 blocks a night. The 23-year-old has a ton of upside and after grabbing a franchise record 26 boards in game three win over the Cleveland Cavaliers in the Eastern Conference Finals, more eyes are on the athletic pivot than ever before.
However, Biyombo is set to be a restricted free agent this summer. Unfortunately, Toronto does not own Biyombo’s Bird Rights and cannot go over the salary cap to sign him. That means that if a franchise puts up a big offer for the former Charlotte Hornets man, the Raptors are powerless to match it.
With the Canadian franchise desperate to keep DeRozan and likely to offer him a max-contract, one has to wonder how much money they can really allocate to Biyombo, who, essentially, is a backup center to Valanciunas.
Last summer, the Lithuanian signed a four-year, $64 million contract with the franchise; they are clearly committed to him.
However, Biyombo told Sportsnet 590 The Fan’s “Andrew Walker Show" that in the name of the team and what they have accomplished this year, something could be worked out.
“We still have some unfinished business," Biyombo said. "It was so much fun to see the team go from last year to this year making the Eastern Conference finals. But it would be fun to go even further next season.”
“When the right time comes I’d be open to figuring something out. At the end of the day it’s for fun, not money. It’s not always about money,” Biyombo said. “Money is great, but at the same time I ask, ‘how much fun am I going to have?’ The city is great, the team is great and we’re winning.”
Biyombo is obviously happy with his role within the setup in Toronto, but it would be interesting to see what happened if a team made a strong run at the center with a decent package.
There are several teams in the NBA who are in need of a decent center, just look at the Lakers, Nets and even the Rockets, assuming Dwight Howard is set to move on.