Bismack Biyombo

Pacific Notes: Biyombo, Wiseman, Haliburton, Vezenkov

According to Suns center Bismack Biyombo, “winning teams” showed interest in him in free agency and he potentially could’ve made more money elsewhere, but he’s comfortable in Phoenix and believes the team’s system allows him to “excel,” writes Duane Rankin of The Arizona Republic.

Biyombo also said that he’s looking forward to being a Sun from day one this season after joining the team midway through the 2021/22 campaign.

“All the structure was set, and you’re kind of catching a rhythm of a team and trying to join the dance,” Biyombo said. “I think it’s always good to start the dance at the beginning, which is training camp. Have a better understanding of the team.”

Here’s more from around the Pacific:

  • Warriors center James Wiseman looked good in his return to the court on Sunday in Las Vegas, scoring 11 points on 5-of-7 shooting and blocking a couple shots in 19 minutes, writes Kendra Andrews of ESPN. It’s an encouraging first step for the former No. 2 overall pick, who missed the entire 2021/22 season due to a knee injury. “Walking into the locker room after the game and all the players cheering for him I think he can kind of (say), ‘Ah, I can breathe again,'” Warriors Summer League coach Jama Mahlalela told ESPN. “Every conversation I have with him is, ‘I am so proud of you but now the real work begins.'”
  • Now a member of the Pacers, Tyrese Haliburton says he still has love for Sacramento, despite unexpectedly being traded to Indiana prior to the 2022 deadline. Haliburton told Sean Cunningham of Fox 40 in Sacramento (video link) that his feelings toward the Kings organization and Kings fans are “completely different” from one another.
  • After having his NBA rights acquired by the Kings in June, Olympiacos forward Sasha Vezenkov had reportedly planned to meet with the team in Las Vegas this month. However, Vezenkov isn’t traveling stateside after all, according to Vangelis Ioannou of Eurohoops.net, and he recently made comments hinting he may remain in Greece for the 2022/23 season, per Antonis Stroggylakis of Eurohoops.net. Vezenkov has an NBA opt-out deadline of July 20 in his deal with Olympiacos, so he’ll have another nine days to see if he and the Kings can work out a deal. Sacramento has a small portion of its mid-level exception available to offer the 26-year-old more than two years, or could dip into its bi-annual exception to offer a two-year deal worth more than the rookie minimum.

Bismack Biyombo Re-Signs With Suns

JULY 3: Biyombo has officially re-signed with the Suns, according to NBA.com’s transactions log. That means it’s a minimum-salary deal for the veteran big man, since minimum signings can be completed during the July moratorium.


JULY 2: The Suns are re-signing free agent center Bismack Biyombo, Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports tweets.

Biyombo, 29, appeared in 36 regular-season games last season for Phoenix, averaging 5.8 PPG and 4.6 RPG in 14.1 MPG. Biyombo, who spent the bulk of his NBA career with Charlotte, also appeared in nine playoff games last season.

Biyombo provides depth in the middle with Deandre Ayton‘s status with the franchise still very much up in the air.

Biyombo joined Phoenix last season on a 10-day contract, then signed a rest-of-the-season deal in early January for the prorated veteran’s minimum.

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 NBA.com, 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.