Over the weekend, Bismack Biyombo expressed a preference to remain with Toronto going forward, re-signing with the Raptors. However, the free-agent-to-be went a step further today in a conversation with Andrew Walker of Sportsnet 590 The Fan (Twitter link). According to Walker, Biyombo said he expects to return to the Raptors, and would open to exploring a “hometown discount” to make it happen.
Barring another major roster move, such as trading Jonas Valanciunas or Terrence Ross, or not re-signing DeMar DeRozan, the Raptors will likely need Biyombo to accept a hometown discount for the team to have a shot at signing him. Biyombo will decline a player option that would have paid him less than $3MM for the 2016/17 season, and will be in line for a significant raise on that amount.
A pair of recent reports that surfaced after Biyombo made a major impact on multiple games in the Eastern Conference Finals suggested that $16MM+ could be within reach for the former top-10 pick in free agency. If Biyombo does receive offers in that range, it would be interesting to see how much less he’d be willing to take to remain in Toronto. Even though the Raptors may be his first choice, it would be pretty hard for Biyombo to turn down, for instance, a four-year, $60MM offer if Toronto’s offer is only in the $30-40MM range. Especially since he’d likely have a better opportunity to start for another team.
Of course, it remains to be seen what opportunities will be available to Biyombo. Even with a ton of extra cap room to work with, it’s not clear if teams will be willing to make a huge offer to a player who excelled for just a short time down the stretch of the 2015/16 season. Whether or not Biyombo actually accepts a hometown discount from the Raptors will likely hinge on what sort of offers are out there in free agency, and how Toronto tackles its other roster decisions.