Bismack Biyombo

Pacific Notes: Biyombo, LaVine, Holmes, Kings

Suns center Bismack Biyombo expects to be fined for his altercation with Mavericks big man Marquese Chriss in the closing seconds of Tuesday’s game. They both ran down the same tunnel after being ejected and had to be separated by security. Biyombo explained his side of the incident in a video posted by Duane Rankin of The Arizona Republic.

“I think it was nothing serious,” Biyombo said, adding that Chriss seemed upset that Phoenix was still trying to score with the game already in hand. “… I think when we play here they play all the way until the end, and I think that’s understandable. It’s the playoffs, you know.”

Any fines or suspensions will be announced sometime in advance of Thursday night’s Game 6. Biyombo is only averaging 8.6 minutes in seven games in this year’s playoffs and Chriss is at 3.8 minutes in four games, so any disciplinary action won’t have a significant impact on the series.

There’s more from the Pacific Division:

  • The Lakers may be a long shot to land free agent guard Zach LaVine, but they shouldn’t be discounted entirely, writes Eric Pincus of Bleacher Report. There has been speculation this week that LaVine may be interested in joining the Trail Blazers, but L.A. could be another option if he wants to head west, particularly since LaVine is represented by Klutch Sports. Pincus examines potential trades involving the Bulls, Thunder, Pacers and Magic that could clear LaVine’s path to the Lakers if he decides he wants to join them.
  • Kings big man Richaun Holmes has won a court victory in the custody battle that led to him missing the season’s final 11 games for personal reasons, according to James Ham of ESPN 1320. Holmes was accused of domestic violence by his ex-wife, but judges in Los Angeles and Georgia ruled in his favor, granting him sole physical and legal custody of his son.
  • The Kings hosted six players Wednesday in their second round of pre-draft workouts, Ham tweets. On hand were Grayson Murphy of Belmont, AJ Green of Northern Iowa, Jalen Adaway of St. Bonaventure, Buddy Boeheim of Syracuse, Keve Aluma of Virginia Tech and Grant Golden of Richmond. Sacramento owns two second-round picks at No. 37 and 48. Its first-round pick will be determined by next week’s lottery.

Mavs’ Chriss, Suns’ Biyombo Separated In Tunnel Following Ejections

Mavericks forward Marquese Chriss followed Suns center Bismack Biyombo off the court and into the tunnel after the two players were ejected near the end of Phoenix’s Game 5 win on Tuesday night, as Dave McMenamin of ESPN details.

With the Suns up by 28 and just seconds remaining in the fourth quarter, Biyombo went up for a dunk and was fouled hard by Chriss (video link). The two big men exchanged words and had to be separated, as referees assessed technical fouls to both players and immediately ejected them from the game.

When Biyombo exited through the tunnel toward the Suns’ locker room, Chriss followed him instead of heading into the tunnel on the opposite side of the court. As McMenamin writes, several members of the teams’ security staffs – along with Mavs center Boban Marjanovic – ran after the two players.

Chriss and Biyombo were separated by the Suns’ security team before any physical contact was made, according to TNT sideline reporter Allie LaForce (Twitter link). Chriss was then escorted back through the tunnel and toward the opposite end of the court.

“I get the competitiveness of the game, but we’re just trying to win the game,” Suns coach Monty Williams said during his postgame media session, per McMenamin. “All the stuff that happens that’s extra-curricular, I don’t have anything to say about that. I understand how chippy it can be. We just want to win the game and that’s it. We’re trying to get one more win, and that’s our focus right now.”

While the confrontation didn’t come to blows, it seems likely the NBA will review the incident — it’s possible one or both players could face a fine.

The Suns lead the series 3-2 heading into Game 6 on Thursday in Dallas.

Pacific Notes: Suns, Biyombo, Westbrook, Poole

The Suns are surging despite missing star point guard Chris Paul (thumb fracture), going 9-4 in the games they’ve played without him, Duane Rankin of the Arizona Republic writes. Phoenix owns the league’s best record at 57-14, leading the second-place Grizzlies by 8.5 games.

“We know how talented this team is and we always pride ourselves on that,” Devin Booker said. “I always say nobody can replace what Chris does out there. We know how much we’re going to need him when it comes into this playoff run, but in the meantime, we’re just trying to hold it down.”

Phoenix is coming off its first NBA Finals appearance since 1993. The team lost to Milwaukee in six games, but it kept most of its core for this season. It has the chemistry, motivation and talent to make a title run — though it’ll be important to have a fully healthy team.

Here are some other notes from the Pacific:

  • Michael Scotto of HoopsHype hosted a Q&A with Suns center Bismack Biyombo, who discussed how and why he’s donating his salary, why he fits in well with the team, and several other topics. Biyombo signed a 10-day hardship deal with Phoenix in January, impressing the club enough to earn a rest-of-season commitment. The 11-year veteran has averaged 6.1 points and 4.7 rebounds in 14.1 minutes per game.
  • The Lakers embraced Russell Westbrook‘s feel-good moment in Toronto, rallying behind him after he helped the team earn an overtime win on Friday with a game-tying three-pointer at the end of regulation, Kyle Goon of the Orange County Register writes. “One of the highlights of our season – and it’s been a tough season for us, and specifically for him,” head coach Frank Vogel said. Contrary to public perception, Westbrook’s shooting percentages have only dipped slightly from last season, but his 15.7 shot attempts per game represent his lowest mark since 2009/10.
  • Warriors guard Jordan Poole is proving he’s ready for the NBA spotlight, Monte Poole of NBC Sports Bay Area writes. Poole is averaging a career-best 17.1 points on 46% shooting this season, establishing himself as a valuable scoring threat in his third season.

And-Ones: Brown, Brogdon, Biyombo, Udoka, Snyder, Russia, Smith

Jaylen Brown, Malcolm Brogdon and Bismack Biyombo have been re-elected as VPs on the National Basketball Players Association’s Executive Committee, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski tweets. They’ll serve new three-year terms, according to the players’ union.

We have more from around the basketball world:

  • The Celtics’ Ime Udoka and Jazz‘s Quin Snyder were named Coaches of the Month for February, NBA Communications tweets. Boston had a 9-2 record during the month, while Utah went 8-1.
  • In the aftermath of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the NBA has suspended all activities in Russia, Mark J. Burns of the Sports Business Journal tweets. According to Burns’ source, that includes activities related to content distribution such as digital and broadcast. There is no timeline on when business activities will resume in Russia.
  • Forward Roscoe Smith, who has appeared in 149 G League games, has signed in Palestine with Orthodoxi Beit Jala, agent Derek James of Global Pipeline Agency told JD Shaw of Hoops Rumors (Twitter link).

Pacific Notes: Johnson, Bazemore, Craig, Biyombo

Magic Johnson stepped down from his post as the Lakers’ president of basketball operations in 2019 but team owner Jeanie Buss still leans on the Hall-of-Famer for advice, according to Bill Oram of The Athletic. “To me, he’s still working with us,” Buss said. “In terms of an official capacity, in the NBA, you have to be very clear as to who can negotiate on your behalf and who can’t. So he doesn’t have that official designation. But in terms of his support, his wisdom, his insight, I freely call on him as needed.”

We have more from the Pacific Division:

  • Kent Bazemore hasn’t been part of the Lakers rotation since mid-November and hasn’t played since February 3. However, he’s not sulking over his lack of playing time, Dan Woike of the Los Angeles Times writes. “Some nights, it gets hard having to hold back that competitive nature. Especially if a guy gets going, I know defensively, I made a living off of taking guys out of the game, shutting off the water, so to speak. That gets the best of me sometimes,” Bazemore said. “But that’s just the competitor in me. … I’m doing what I love. I don’t mind putting in the work for it, even though I’m out of the rotation.”
  • The Suns wanted to bring back Torrey Craig during the offseason but prioritized signing JaVale McGee with their mid-level exception, John Gambadoro of of 98.7 FM Phoenix tweets. Craig found a two-year deal with Indiana before the contract with McGee was finalized. Craig was traded back to Phoenix last week. The Suns still have a portion of the mid-level available to use on the buyout market, Gambadoro adds.
  • Craig said the trade back to the Suns was a deadline-day surprise to him, Duane Rankin of the Arizona Republic writes. “It just happened so fast,” Craig said. “I was literally practicing in Indiana and then I noticed it was an hour before the trade deadline. Came to my phone and I had a couple of missed calls from my agent. And then he called me and told me (the) situation and I was like, wow. It had just happened. It was a quick turnaround. I packed and I came here. I’m excited to be back.”  
  • Bismack Biyombo told his agent, former NBA player B.J. Armstrong, that he only wanted to sign with a title contender in free agency, Marc Spears of The Undefeated reports. “That was the hardest part,” Biyombo said. “I talked to my agent and I said, ‘Look, the only way I will do it is for a contender. Otherwise, I’m not doing it.’ Biyombo remained unsigned until a 10-day with Phoenix under the hardship exception. He later signed a rest-of-the-season deal with the Suns last month.

Suns Sign Bismack Biyombo For Rest Of Season

JANUARY 11: Following the expiration of his 10-day deal on Monday night, Biyombo has now officially signed a rest-of-season contract with the Suns, the team announced today (via Twitter). His prorated minimum-salary deal will pay him $1,366,392, while Phoenix takes on a cap hit of $863,368.

JANUARY 6: Bismack Biyombo, who joined the Suns on a 10-day contract last week, will sign with the team for the remainder of the season, tweets ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

Biyombo made an impact in two games with Phoenix, coming off the bench to average 13.5 points, 6.0 rebounds, 2.0 assists, 1.5 steals and 2.0 blocks in 23.5 minutes per night. He helped the Suns pick up a pair of wins while centers Deandre Ayton and JaVale McGee were in the health and safety protocols.

An 11-year veteran, the 29-year-old Biyombo had been out of the league after spending the past three seasons with the Hornets. There was a rumor in November that he might play in Spain, but nothing ever materialized.

He is among a large group of players who received NBA opportunities under the hardship provision as a result of a COVID-19 outbreak over the past month. The Suns needed immediate help in the middle with Frank Kaminsky and Dario Saric sidelined as well by long-term injuries.

The seventh overall pick in the 2011 draft, Biyombo spent his first four seasons in Charlotte, then played for the Raptors and Magic before returning to the Hornets in 2018. He has appeared in 704 total NBA games with career averages of 5.2 points, 6.1 rebounds and 1.3 blocks per night.

Pacific Notes: Fox, Haliburton, Hield, Biyombo, Clippers

It hasn’t been a good season so far for Sacramento, the only team to have fired a head coach since opening night. But with so many other Western Conference teams struggling, the 16-23 Kings currently occupy a play-in spot, with a half-game lead over San Antonio for the No. 10 seed.

The Kings are extremely motivated to make the postseason this year and would be interested in making trades that both improve their playoff chances and give them “a runway for sustained success in the future,” says Sam Amick of The Athletic. According to Amick, team owner Vivek Ranadive has given general manager Monte McNair the green light to make any roster moves necessary to meet those goals.

It has frequently been reported that Sacramento’s most likely trade candidates are Buddy Hield and Marvin Bagley III. Amick confirms that the team’s preference would be to retain – and build around – guards De’Aaron Fox and Tyrese Haliburton. However, Fox and Haliburton aren’t viewed as untouchable, according to Amick, who says no Kings player is considered entirely off the table in trade discussions.

Here’s more from around the Pacific:

  • Speaking to Mark Medina of, Kings wing Buddy Hield acknowledged that he thought he would be traded to the Lakers during the offseason. However, it doesn’t sound like Hield is dwelling on what could have been — or worried about the possibility of being on the move before the trade deadline. “If it happened, it happened. If it didn’t, it didn’t,” Hield told Medina. “But it’s basketball, and you have to live with it. It’s the business side of it. At the end of the day, I still have a job. I can go to all 30 teams in the league. As long as I have a job, I’m happy.”
  • The Suns‘ addition of Bismack Biyombo on a 10-day contract has been a major success so far, according to Jeremy Cluff of The Arizona Republic. Biyombo has made a case for a rest-of-season deal by averaging 13.5 PPG, 6.0 RPG, and 2.0 BPG on 11-of-13 shooting off the bench in his first two games with the team.
  • The Clippers‘ depth has been tested recently both on and off the court, writes Mirjam Swanson of the Southern California News Group. Besides missing several players due to injuries and COVID-19, the coaching staff has also been depleted, with assistant Dan Craig recovering from knee surgery and several other coaches testing positive for COVID-19. Fortunately, head coach Tyronn Lue exited the protocols today and is prepared to return to the Clippers’ bench, per Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN (Twitter link).

Suns Sign Bismack Biyombo To 10-Day Deal

JANUARY 1: Phoenix has officially signed Biyombo to a 10-day contract, the team announced on social media (Twitter link).

DECEMBER 31: The Suns are planning to sign veteran free agent center Bismack Biyombo for a 10-day contract via a hardship exception, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski tweets. It’s possible Biyombo could stick with the club longer than just 10 days, Woj adds.

This will be the 11th NBA season for Biyombo, who’s still just 29 years of age. He spent last season with the Hornets, but was unable to find a team in free agency. In 66 games last season (20.4 MPG), Biyombo averaged 5.0 PPG, 5.3 RPG, 1.2 APG and 1.1 BPG.

Biyombo has played 702 career games (307 starts) with Charlotte, Toronto, and Orlando. He’s known as strong rebounder and shot-blocker, however he lacks shooting touch.

The Suns are essentially down to their fifth center at the moment in Jalen Smith, and at 215 pounds he’s pretty thin to be playing lots of minutes down low. JaVale McGee and Deandre Ayton are currently in the health and safety protocols, while Frank Kaminsky and Dario Saric are both sidelined by long-term leg injuries.

The Suns were over matched in the paint in their 123-108 loss to Boston Friday, giving up 13 offensive rebounds and losing the rebounding battle 51-38. Biyombo should provide immediate help in that department.

Spanish Team Interested In Bismack Biyombo

Former Hornets center Bismack Biyombo is attracting interest from Baskonia in Spain, according to a report from Noticias de Alava (hat tip to EuroHoops).

Biyombo was a part-time starter for Charlotte last season, averaging 5.0 points, 5.3 rebounds and 1.1 blocks in 66 games. He was a free agent over the summer and wasn’t able to reach a deal with a new team after the Hornets renounced his rights in August.

The 29-year-old was the seventh player selected in the 2011 draft and spent his first four NBA seasons in Charlotte. He played a year with the Raptors and two with the Magic before the Hornets brought him back in a 2018 trade. He appeared in 702 total games over the past 10 years with career averages of 5.1 points, 6.1 rebounds and 1.3 blocks per night.

Baskonia is looking to shake up its roster after four straight losses, the EuroHoops report notes. Biyombo played in the Spanish League before coming to the NBA.

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.