Bismack Biyombo to Magic: Contract Details, Reaction

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured Columnist

CLEVELAND, OH - MAY 25:  Bismack Biyombo #8 of the Toronto Raptors reacts after a call in the second quarter against the Cleveland Cavaliers in game five of the Eastern Conference Finals during the 2016 NBA Playoffs at Quicken Loans Arena on May 25, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Free-agent center Bismack Biyombo and the Orlando Magic reached an agreement on a four-year contract. The Magic announced the move on July 7. 

Jon Krawczynski of the Associated Press was the first to report the signing on July 2, with Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical reporting the deal is worth $72 million.

Biyombo joins an already-loaded Magic frontcourt that boasts center Nikola Vucevic and power forward Serge Ibaka, who was acquired in a draft-night trade with the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Biyombo made quite an impression during the Toronto Raptors' six-game loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers in the Eastern Conference Finals. While he averaged just 6.3 points, he tallied 10.3 rebounds and 1.8 blocks per contest while shooting 56 percent from the field in the series.

His best performance came in Game 3 when he racked up seven points, four blocks and an eye-popping 26 rebounds in a 99-84 victory. It was one of eight games during the team's playoff run that he collected double-digit boards.

The 23-year-old Congo native also showcased a lot of flair, even using the famed Dikembe Mutombo finger wag at times. Ryan Wolstat of the Toronto Sun noted the center shrugged off questions about the bold nature of doing that to some of the NBA's biggest names, such as LeBron James and Dwyane Wade.

"I play the game. They are who they are; I am who I am. That's all I can say," Biyombo said. "I don't play the game to be scared of anybody. I play the game for my teammates. The only thing that matters is what my teammates say about me. I [couldn't] care less about what other people think about me."

While there's no doubting his defensive impact—he ranked 17th in the league in defensive real plus-minus, per ESPN.com—his limited offensive game restricts his value.

Biyombo has averaged 4.6 points across 366 career games with the Raptors and Charlotte Hornets. He shoots just 56 percent from the free-throw line, which gives opponents the freedom to hack him rather than concede easy buckets. He's most effective on second-chance opportunities off offensive rebounds.

Though his game does have some flaws, opting out of his contract was a no-brainer after his playoff success, and he did exactly that in early June, as Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders noted.

Ultimately, Biyombo chose to begin a new chapter of his career with the Magic. Even though he took his game to new heights during his only season in Toronto, the switch doesn't come as much of a surprise, given the price tag created by the need for impact post players around the league.

Biyombo isn't going to become a high-end offensive contributor. But his ability to defend and rebound can be valuable if he's in the right situation. His first task will be to find a similar comfort zone with his new team while also dealing with the pressure of his new contract.

Orlando now has a front line that stacks up as well as any team in the league at both ends of the floor.

While Biyombo is somewhat of a one-dimensional player, Vucevic is a force offensively, while Ibaka excels in essentially all areas.

Although the Magic will be difficult to contend with in the paint, they still have question marks in the backcourt, especially after sending Victor Oladipo to Oklahoma City in exchange for Ibaka.

The Magic reportedly re-signed shooting guard Evan Fournier, according to Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel; however, there is a lack of quality depth at guard in comparison to the frontcourt.

Biyombo makes Orlando a much tougher team to play against on the defensive end, but he may not be enough to push the Magic into the playoffs in the competitive Eastern Conference, especially since he figures to serve in a bench role behind Vucevic and Ibaka.


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