Bismack Biyombo

CJ McCollum Elected New NBPA President

CJ McCollum is the new president of the National Basketball Players Association, writes Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN. The Trail Blazers guard replaces Chris Paul, who served two consecutive terms totaling eight years.

McCollum, 29, has served as a vice president on the union’s executive committee for the past three years and has been a strong voice in NBPA decisions as well as negotiations with the NBA, Woj adds.

Grant Williams was elected as vice president, the league announced (via Twitter). Other members of the executive committee will be Andre Iguodala (first vice president), Harrison Barnes (secretary-treasurer) and vice presidents Bismack Biyombo, Malcolm Brogdon, Jaylen Brown, Kyrie Irving and Garrett Temple (Twitter link).

“Since entering the league, I have wanted to be involved in the and contribute to the important decisions that impact our lives as players both on and off the court,” Williams tweeted. “I am honored to be selected by my peers for this position and excited to join the NBPA Executive Committee.”

One of the union’s first priorities under McCollum will be to find a replacement for Michele Roberts, who has served as executive director since 2014. She has announced her intentions to step down and is expected to leave her post sometime around the end of the year.

McCollum will also have to take the lead in negotiating a new Collective Bargaining Agreement, Wojnarowski points out. The current CBA runs through the end of the 2023/24 season, but either the league or the players could decide to opt out after the 2022/23 season ends.

And-Ones: Smith, Biyombo, Spurs, Hall, Almansa, Trade Market

The Pistons officially renounced their rights to Wayne Ellington, who has signed with the Lakers, and Dennis Smith Jr., according to the RealGM transactions log. The Hornets renounced four players, including Bismack Biyombo, while the Spurs renounced their rights to a whopping 13 players. San Antonio’s list includes Donatas Motiejunas and David Lee, who haven’t appeared in an NBA game for years. Renouncing those rights allows teams to maximize their cap room in free agency.

We have more from the basketball world:

  • Donta Hall has signed with France’s Betclic Elite side AS Monaco, Sportando relays. Hall, who turns 24 on Saturday, played 13 games with the Magic this past season on two 10-day contracts and an end-of-the-season deal via the hardship exception. The power forward also played a total of nine games for the Pistons and Nets in 2019/20.
  • Overtime Elite has added another top European prospect. Izan Almansa has signed with the league, Jonathan Givony of ESPN tweets. The 6’9” Almansa, a 16-year old Spanish power forward, is the second player OTE has signed from Real Madrid’s youth program and seventh international prospect.
  • While free agency is winding down, the trade market could continue to percolate in the coming weeks, John Hollinger of The Athletic writes. Ben Simmons and Damian Lillard top the list of stars who could be on the move, while the Raptors and Magic are teams to watch, with the latter possibly taking on an onerous contract in order to acquire future assets.
  • The ESPN duo of Tim Bontemps and Bobby Marks also take a look at unresolved storylines this month involving free agency, the trade market and potential extensions.

Southeast Notes: Biyombo, Heat, Dragic, Lowry, Ross

Hornets center Bismack Biyombo provided much-needed leadership and guidance to his younger teammates this season, Sam Perley of NBA.com writes.

Charlotte has a young core of LaMelo Ball, Miles Bridges, and P.J. Washington among others. Biyombo, who held per-game averages of 5.0 points and 5.3 rebounds in 20.4 minutes in his 10th NBA season, relished the role of veteran leader for the team.

“The most special part was that this was a team where nobody had an ego,” Biyombo said. “We trusted each other, supported each other. We didn’t want to hear the outside noise. When you’re around a team that doesn’t have egos, it’s easy to lead and be a voice of the team.

“People are able to listen and you can listen to other people give their opinion and be willing to understand where the other person is coming from. I think overall, we trusted and relied on each other. I think that was the most special part about this season.”

There’s more from the Southeast Division tonight:

  • Some Heat players could still have a short offseason despite being eliminated in the first round of the playoffs, as Ira Winderman of the Sun Sentinel explores. While it won’t be nearly as brief as last offseason, it’ll be shorter than usual — the league plans to return to a normal format next season, meaning training camps will start the final week of September. Should Jimmy Butler or Bam Adebayo participate in the Olympics, it would reduce their time off even further.
  • In his “Ask Ira” mailbag, Winderman examines whether replacing Goran Dragic with Kyle Lowry would be enough of an upgrade for the team. Miami holds a $19.44MM team option on Dragic for next season, while Lowry is set to become an unrestricted free agent.
  • Magic veteran Terrence Ross found new ways to score this season, elevating his game to another level, Roy Parry of the Orlando Sentinel writes. Ross averaged a career-high 15.6 points per game, shooting 41% from the field and 34% from three-point range in 46 contests.

Southeast Notes: Hornets’ Centers, Ball, Oladipo, Clifford

James Borrego isn’t satisfied with his options at center and he hasn’t been since he took over as Hornets coach three years ago, writes Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer. Cody Zeller, Bismack Biyombo, P.J. Washington and Vernon Carey have all seen time in middle this season, but none of them has been outstanding. Washington will probably be the starter for the rest of the season, Bonnell adds, but he’s a natural power forward at 6-7 and likely isn’t the long-term answer.

“Every night I’m just trying to figure it out with that group. It’s been like that for three years,” Borrego said after watching his team get outrebounded 54-33 in a loss to the Celtics this week. “It may be another three years that we continue to look like that, actually. … Just trying to piece it together.”

General manager Mitch Kupchak was interested in James Wiseman in last year’s draft, but the Warriors grabbed him with the second pick. Charlotte may not be in the lottery this year, but the club will have about $30MM in cap room when free agency begins. Bonnell suggests targeting Kings center Richaun Holmes or trying to trade for Pacers center Myles Turner.

There’s more from the Southeast Division:

  • With LaMelo Ball returning tonight from a fractured wrist, Nekias Duncan of Basketball News examines how the Hornets‘ dynamic rookie impacts the game through play-making, scoring and defense.
  • Heat guard Victor Oladipo may be getting closer to playing, even though he didn’t accompany the team on its weekend road trip, tweets Ira Winderman of The Sun-Sentinel. Oladipo hasn’t played since hurting his knee in an April 8 game, and the team hasn’t provided much information about a possible return. However, coach Erik Spoelstra said Oladipo is “making progress,” according to a tweet from the team. Tyler Herro, who continues to have issues with his injured foot, missed the road trip as well, notes Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald (via Twitter).
  • Magic head coach Steve Clifford continues to be sidelined after testing positive for COVID-19, but acting coach Tyrone Corbin said Clifford “feels great,” tweets Roy Parry of The Orlando Sentinel. Corbin said Clifford is still not showing any symptoms of the virus and his oxygen numbers remain good.

Southeast Notes: Young, Magic, Wizards, Biyombo

Unlike some other probable All-Stars who have expressed reluctance about playing in a potential March 7 All-Star Game in Atlanta, Hawks point guard Trae Young has said he would relish the opportunity to participate if he earns a second straight All-Star berth, according to Sarah K. Spencer of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

“I understand both sides,” said Young, who is averaging 26.7 PPG, 9.2 APG, and 4.0 RPG for the 11-12 Hawks. “Obviously, it’s in Atlanta, I’d love to be a part of it, if there is a game.”

There’s more out of the Southeast Division:

  • Magic assistant general manager Matt Lloyd spoke with Josh Robbins of The Athletic about how the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has impacted Orlando’s scouting process. “We’ve gotten to the point with technology where we have so much to study,” Lloyd acknowledged. “Every game is on film… But there is still an advantage of being able to see how prospects look in person. There’s always going to be that one element of being in an arena or in a gym and being able to size players up to get some sort of sense of their real physicality, their size, their length and how fast they are.”
  • The Wizards have been performing better when $41.4MM point guard Russell Westbrook sits, according to Fred Katz of The Athletic. In a somewhat alarming trend, Washington is 4-3 without Westbrook and 2-12 with him this season. Washington is 7.7 points per 100 possessions worse when Westbrook plays for the club this year.
  • Hornets center Bismack Biyombo is relishing his role as a mentor with a scrappy Charlotte team, according to Kurt Helin of NBC Sports. Biyombo has become a key advisor to rookie guard LaMelo Ball, the No. 3 pick in the 2020 draft. “I was telling LaMelo when I first got to the league I was his age because I came from overseas as well,” Biyombo said. “The transition, how far you grow from playing overseas versus when you see kids who come out of college, it’s totally two different mindsets.”

Hornets Notes: Biyombo, Batum, Hayward, Offense

The Hornets used some of their available cap space to re-sign reserve center Bismack Biyombo to a one-year contract worth $3.5MM, and also gave first-year salaries of $1.5MM to center Vernon Carey Jr. and $1MM to forward Nick Richards, Bobby Marks of ESPN tweets. Marks goes on to note that the Hornets, who still have about $4MM in available cap space, will also be able to use their $4.8M room exception to add an additional player if they so choose.

There’s more out of Charlotte:

  • After forward Nicolas Batum signed a veteran’s minimum deal with the Clippers when the Hornets waived him, Charlotte stands to save $559,528 spread out over the three-year duration of his stretched contract, per ESPN’ s Bobby Marks (via Twitter).
  • The robust $120MM, four-year contract of new Hornets forward Gordon Hayward has a 15% trade kicker baked into it, Michael Scotto of HoopsHype tweets. This would make the end of his deal, already thought to be exorbitant for a player with his injury history and age, even more expensive if he’s moved.
  • Following a breakout scoring season with the Hornets in 2019/20, guard Devonte’ Graham is in favor of a more balanced offensive attack incorporating new additions Hayward and LaMelo Ball, even though that means Graham’s looks could decrease, Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer reports.

Hornets Re-Sign Bismack Biyombo

NOVEMBER 30: The signing is official, according to a team press release.


NOVEMBER 22: The Hornets have reached an agreement with center Bismack Biyombo, bringing him back for a third straight season, Yahoo Sports’ Chris Haynes tweets. Biyombo’s deal will be for one year, according to Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer

Biyombo holds nine years of NBA experience, making past stops with Charlotte, Toronto and Orlando. He spent the first three seasons of his career with the Hornets before signing with the Raptors, where he averaged 6.2 points and 9.2 rebounds per game during the 2016 NBA playoffs.

This past season, the 28-year-old held per-game averages of 7.4 points, 5.8 rebounds and 19.4 minutes in Charlotte. At 6-foot-9 and 255 pounds, Biyombo was the No. 7 pick of the 2011 NBA Draft.

Charlotte has made several notable moves in free agency, including drafting LaMelo Ball at No. 3 and reaching a four-year, $120MM deal with Gordon Hayward. The team finished with the tenth-best record in the East at 23-42 last season.

Free Agency Rumors: Lakers, Hornets, Pelicans, Baynes, Bazemore

The Lakers anticipate being “first in line” to talk to two of their veteran free agents, Dwight Howard and Avery Bradley, when free agency opens, league sources tell Michael Scotto of HoopsHype.

Howard and Bradley are expected to draw interest from multiple other clubs, including perhaps the Warriors, but it sounds like L.A. has interest in bringing back both of them. The Lakers and veteran forward Jared Dudley also have mutual interest in a new deal, Scotto adds.

Here’s more from Scotto on free agency:

  • The Hornets are expected to be in the market for a free agent center, according to Scotto, who notes that the team will likely lose Bismack Biyombo and Willy Hernangomez in free agency.
  • Scotto echoes a rumor we heard earlier in the week, writing that the Pelicans are expected to show interest in free agent center Aron Baynes.
  • The Kings and Kent Bazemore are expected to have mutual interest in reaching a new deal, according to Scotto, who notes that the free agent swingman will likely speak with a number of teams once free agency begins.

Southeast Notes: Hornets, Hawks, Collins, Wizards

The Hornets have officially published the list of 17 players who will participate in their in-market bubble mini-camp this week and next, including 13 players on the NBA roster and four from their G League affiliate.

Among the most interesting inclusions on the Hornets’ list are Dwayne Bacon and Willy Hernangomez, both of whom are eligible for free agency this offseason. A number of veteran free agents have opted out of these voluntary mini-camps so as not to risk injury, but Bacon and Hernangomez are young players who are unlikely to generate major interest on the open market, so they’re not jeopardizing massive paydays by participating.

The two Hornets players who aren’t taking part in the team’s group activities are Nicolas Batum and Bismack Biyombo. As Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer writes, Biyombo’s absence doesn’t come as a major surprise, since he’s an unrestricted free agent this offseason. Batum, meanwhile, has one year left on his contract, but he has been in France for much of the summer and his wife is pregnant with the couple’s second child, per Bonnell.

Here’s more from around the Southeast:

  • While he acknowledged that the 2020 NBA draft class may not be as star-studded as some past groups, Hornets head coach James Borrego is confident that the team will be able to use the No. 3 pick on a player who will “really add value to our program,” as he tells Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer. Mitch (Kupchak) and I have dialogue every day,” Borrego said. “I’m excited about the third pick and the 32nd pick, as well. That’s a really good pick for us. The more I dig in, the more I like.”
  • Speaking today to reporters, Hawks president of basketball operations Travis Schlenk confirmed that the club anticipates having contract extension discussions with John Collins‘ reps once they’re able to do so (Twitter link via Brad Rowland of Uproxx). Collins will become eligible for a rookie scale extension once the 2020/21 league year begins.
  • Michael Lee and Ben Standig of The Athletic explore the missteps the Wizards have made since 2015 that led them to their current position — capped-out and in the lottery for a second consecutive year.

Eastern Notes: Kennard, Biyombo, Van Gundy, Tatum

Pistons swingman Luke Kennard has fully healed from the knee tendinitis that sidelined him for nearly three months before the season was suspended, Rod Beard of the Detroit News tweets. Kennard will have to wait until December to play again since the lottery-bound Pistons won’t be part of 22-team restart in Orlando. He’ll be eligible for a rookie scale extension when this season ends.

We have more from the Eastern Conference:

  • The Hornets’ season is over and that means three of their players are now free agents, Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer notes. Centers Bismack Biyombo and Willy Hernangomez and guard Dwayne Bacon will be on the market in October when free agency begins. Guard Malik Monk remains suspended indefinitely for violation of the NBA anti-drug policy, Bonnell adds. Monk was suspended in late February.
  • Tom Thibodeau is considered the front-runner for the Knicks head coaching job and Jeff Van Gundy says Thibodeau is misunderstood, Marc Berman of the New York Post relays. The longtime TV analyst and former Knicks coach made his comments during a Sirius XM Radio interview. “Unfortunately for him the perception of him on the sidelines as this gruff, nasty dude is not even close to who is he personally,” Van Gundy said. “Like, he is a great guy. He’s fun to be around. He’s enjoyable to be around, and he loves basketball.” 
  • NBC Sports’ A. Sherrod Blakely takes a close look on what Celtics fans should watch for when the season resumes, including whether Jayson Tatum can continue his breakout season.