Bobcats’ Biyombo Still Not Cleared to Play in NBA

by July 30, 2011

The NBA lockout isn’t the only thing keeping the Charlotte Bobcats from signing their top draft pick. In addition to the work stoppage, Bismack Biyombo is still waiting for NBA clearance from FIBA. Via 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.’ That Spanish team, Fuenlabrada, reportedly has Biyombo under contract for the next two seasons and expects a buyout of about $1.4 million to release him to the Bobcats. Though Biyombo expressed great confidence he’d be a Bobcat once the lockout ends ( ‘I’m going to play in the NBA next season for sure, 100 percent,’ he said the day after the draft), FIBA’s recent action suggests things could get sticky. A mediation session between Fuenlabrada and Biyombo’s representatives was scheduled for early July. The results of that session have not been made public. The Observer was unsuccessful in reaching Biyombo’s agent, Igor Crespo, for comment. Bobcats officials are barred by the NBA from commenting on their players during the lockout, under the threat of a million-dollar fine. While FIBA’s recent action could complicate things, this can’t come as much of a surprise to the Bobcats. When asked about Biyombo’s contract situation on draft night, general manager Rich Cho commented, ‘He’s got a dispute with his Spanish team. It’s something we’ll have to address. It’s a little bit complicated.'”