Eastern Notes: Lue, Kilpatrick, Biyombo

The Raptors are hoping that Bismack Biyombo will exercise his player option for 2016/17 and remain in Toronto for another season, Steve Simmons of The National Post writes. “I’m going to make it very hard for him,” said GM Masai Ujiri. “I’m going to try and do whatever I can to get it done. There are going to be other people who want this player. My job is to try and get it done.” The center noted that he was happy with the Raptors but added that he hasn’t made a decision regarding his option, Simmons relays. “To be here right now is amazing and it’s a blessing. To tell you the truth, I haven’t thought about [free agency],” said Biyombo. “I love Toronto. I love the fans. I love everything about it. But the focus for me right now is for us to go as far as we can. I don’t see why [I wouldn’t sign here]. But really, I haven’t thought about it.” Biyombo inked a two-year, $5.755MM contract with the team last summer and Toronto only holds his Non-Bird rights, which could make re-signing the 23-year-old difficult if he opts out of his pact.

Here’s more from the East:

  • After two months on the job as coach of the Cavaliers, Tyronn Lue hasn’t cured the team of its pre-existing inconsistencies on the court, which makes judging his performance difficult, Brian Windhorst of ESPN.com writes. The ESPN scribe does note that the team’s defense has taken a hit since Lue took over the reigns, with Cleveland ranked 14th in defensive rating and a woeful 20th in defensive field goal percentage under the new coach. Cleveland was ranked fifth in defensive rating and ninth in field goal defense before David Blatt was fired. Lue is still adjusting to being a head coach, a move that is more challenging than he believed previously, Windhorst adds. “When I was a player for Doc [Rivers], I never used to understand why he got mad at the little things,” Lue said. “Now I see why coaches get mad about little, small things. It happens a lot. Things I want to do, things I want [to] implement, it’s been tough to do it midway through the season.”
  • Sean Kilpatrick‘s multiyear deal with the Nets includes a fully guaranteed salary of $980K for 2016/17 and a non-guaranteed salary of $1.05MM for 2017/18, Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders reports (Twitter link). The three-year length means the team used a prorated portion of its mid-level exception to sign him.
  • Melvin Ejim, who was in training camp with the Magic earlier this season, has signed with the Italian club Reyer Venezia, the team announced (translation courtesy of Emiliano Carchia of Sportando). Orlando’s D-League affiliate waived Ejim to allow him to sign overseas.

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