June 6th: 10:20pm: Biyombo has officially opted out, Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders tweets.
May 28th 9:10pm: Raptors center Bismack Biyombo will decline his $2.9MM option for next season and become an unrestricted free agent, sources told ESPN.com’s Marc Stein. Biyombo’s floor in contract negotiations is anticipated to be $15MM annually, thanks to the impending salary-cap increase (Twitter links).
Biyombo’s stock rose dramatically during the Eastern Conference playoffs, when his playing time spiked after Jonas Valanciunas was injured. He averaged 5.5 points, 8.0 rebounds and 1.6 blocks while appearing in every regular-season game, then bumped those averages to 6.2/9.4/1.4 in 20 playoff games.
He had two double-doubles in the Eastern Conference semis against the Heat, including a 17-point, 16-rebound outburst in Game 7. He also had a 26-rebound effort against the Cavaliers in Game 3 of the conference finals.
An Eastern Conference GM told Sean Deveney of The Sporting News earlier this week that Biyombo could command a salary in the $16-17MM annual range, while another said that a contract averaging $20MM per season is a possibility.
Biyombo has been in Toronto for just one season, so the team only holds his Non-Bird rights. That means that, unless the Raptors renounce DeMar DeRozan‘s rights or get creative elsewhere on the roster, there’s virtually no chance that the club can retain Biyombo if he receives offers of $15MM or more per season. The Raptors already have nearly $70MM in guaranteed contracts on their books for next season.