Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Obsever (blog) reports:
Some of you have asked me what’s the significance of FIBA not clearing Bismack Biyombo to sign an NBA contract. It’s about money and leverage. That Spanish team doesn’t mind losing Biyombo to the Charlotte Bobcats, but they want every bit of a buyout of about $1.4 million to release him.
The Spanish Federation and, by extension, FIBA is backing the team. So Biyombo and the Bobcats will eventually have to pay up to get this resolved.
This is the pitfall of using high picks on International players. But as Dirk Nowitzki, the Gasol brothers and Tony Parker all demonstrate, foreigners can have huge impact on an NBA team’s success.
More from the Charlotte Observer:
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.