We're a few days away from the official start of the NBA free agency period, but that doesn't mean we can't start talking about it right now. For the Raptors, the story of free agency begins with DeMar DeRozan and then moves quickly to Bismack Biyombo. The ending has yet to be written.
As Sam Amick of USA Today wrote this past weekend, the Raptors are a lock to sign DeRozan shortly. The longest-tenured Raptor is not even scheduled to meet with any other NBA teams. The only question remaining for DeRozan's return to Toronto is what his contract terms will be.
This is where Biyombo gets involved.
As Amick posits -- according to a source close to the situation -- Biyombo wants to come back to Toronto too. The question as always has been: how do the Raptors make that work? Says Sam:
Should DeRozan be willing to shave some off the top of his salary as a way to help Biyombo stay on board, as it seems he possibly will, then there is a very real interest on Biyombo's part of making it all work. The person spoke to USA TODAY Sports on the condition of anonymity because of the private nature of the situation.
This still seems like a bit of a pie-in-the-sky scenario, requiring as it does not one but two players to ask for contracts below their market value. I can envision a scenario where DeRozan maybe takes a bit less than the max he deserves, but Biyombo's whopper of a $15-17 million value is hard to shrink, squeeze, or wave away no matter how hard the Raptors may try. This, even with the huge jump in the salary cap up to $94 mil.
There's also the new added wrinkle of the fact that the Raps just dropped two draft picks on big men -- Jakob Poeltl and Pascal Siakam -- to supposedly fill in their front court ranks.
Bottom line: if I was a betting man, I would say Biyombo is leaving Toronto.