Before the draft, there were rumors that Bismack Biyombo was 28 years old, only 20 years old, 18 years old, the works. The reality is that it’s unclear how old he is, though he’s probably in normal draft pick range. Then there were rumors that he was still under contract with his Spanish team and might not be available to come over. Bobcats GM Rich Cho confirmed those rumors, briefly, while Biyomobo shrugged them off (as he’s shrugged off every other concern about himself).
Turns out, it’s a bit more of a deal than previously thought. From the Charlotte Observer:
FIBA, basketball’s international governing body, recently declined to provide the NBA clearance to sign forward Bismack Biyombo, the Observer has learned. Biyombo, drafted seventh overall in June, is still under contract to a Spanish team and the Spanish Federation is enforcing that contract.
In an email reply to an Observer inquiry, FIBA spokesman Andrew Robotham wrote:
“The NBA has indeed requested a Letter of Clearance (LoC) for the Player Bismack Biyombo. In accordance with the NBA/FIBA Agreement, FIBA has contacted the Spanish Federation in order to obtain the LoC.
“However, the Spanish Basketball Federation refused to issue the LoC in view of the fact that the Player is still under contract with a team in Spain.”
The Bobcats can provide $500,000 towards his estimated $1.4 million buyout, but Biyombo will have to come up with the rest. He can likely pull that money either from a loan from his agent or another source, but if he can’t, or doesn’t want to, he’s going to face a possible lawsuit from his Spanish team for breach of contract if he tries to play in the NBA when it resumes from the lockout. Biyombo reportedly has two years left on that Spanish contract, making that age issue an even bigger question to settle.
Meanwhile, this could get sticky for the Bobcats if the Spanish team sticks to its guns. So now you’ve got a player with raw athleticism and a very short background of playing time, with question marks regarding his definitive age, under contract for two more years in Spain.
Oh, wait, sorry, I’m supposed to be like every other blogger scribe and just go “BIYOMBO WILL BE AWESOME AND EVERYTHING IS FINE! YAY, BIYOMOBO!” There, much better.