Bismack Biyombo will not be eligible to play for the Charlotte Bobcats until he settles a contract dispute with Spanish club Fuenlabrada, reports Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer. The NBA had requested a letter of clearance from FIBA to assure that Biyombo, picked No. 7 in the 2011 NBA Draft, would be able to play for Charlotte when the 2011-12 season begins. But the Spanish federation blocked the letter of clearance, writes Bonnell, on account of a disputed buyout between Biyombo and Fuenlabrada, for whom the Congolese forward/center played last season.
Fuenlabrada is apparently seeking a $1.4 million buyout from Biyombo. Barring that, the big man would be unavailable for two seasons.
Under the now-expired collective bargaining agreement, NBA teams can only put $500,000 toward a player's buyout. Unless there is a major shift in the rookie scale in a new CBA, Biyombo's first-year salary with the Bobcats would be above $2 million.
The Bobcats traded up to land Biyombo, sending their No. 19 pick, Stephen Jackson and Shaun Livingston to the Milwaukee Bucks and taking back Corey Maggette and the Sacramento Kings' No. 7 pick, which became Biyombo. The Bobcats also picked up Kemba Walker with their own No. 9 pick.
The NBA lockout could be a blessing in disguise: if the NBA season is lost, Biyombo could spend 2011-12 playing for Fuenlabrada and paying down that buyout. He left the team on bad terms in the spring, however, and his agent had said that the club had breached their contract.