Bismack Biyombo's big playoff performance paid off. The fifth-year center has signed a four-year contract worth $72 million in Orlando, per the AP's Jon Krawczynski, and it's a puzzling move for the Magic.
The Magic also traded for Serge Ibaka earlier in the offseason, so their front court is now made up of Biyombo, Ibaka, Nikola Vucevic and recently signed Jeff Green. There's also top draft pick Aaron Gordon, who plays better at power forward, but he might have to shift down to small forward simply out of necessity to get minutes. One solution would be to trade Vucevic, which the Magic reportedly might do.
Biyombo didn't have many suitors in his first round of free agency. He settled for a two-year, $5.75 million contract up north that included a player option for 2016-17. His breakout performance in the playoffs made it an easy decision to tear up the second year of that pact. He put together a monster 26-rebound, four block game in a 99-84 win over Cleveland, was an unexpected catalyst behind Toronto's run to the Eastern Conference Finals, and averaged 6.2 points, 9.4 rebounds, and 1.4 blocks in the postseason.
Those first two numbers would count as career highs over a full season.
The Congolese big man's offensive game is nearly non-existent away from the rim, but he's a harried rebounder who extends possessions with his play in the paint.
Biyombo came into the league as a draft day favorite of Charlotte Bobcats (as they were then called) chairman Michael Jordan, who acquired the center in a draft night trade in 2012 and then started him in 41 games as a rookie the following season. However, the inexperienced Biyombo struggled to adjust to his new surroundings. Turnovers and foul problems plagued him through his first four seasons, and Jordan failed to even tender him a qualifying offer when his contract expired last season.
That led him to Toronto, where the Raptors found a way to highlight his defensive play while minimizing the damage he could do on the offensive end. Still, in five seasons in the NBA, Biyombo has never had an offensive plus/minus score better than -2.4. While he's improving near the basket -- his .586 true shooting percentage this past season was the second-highest of his career -- Frank Vogel will have to plan around him when it comes to setting up in the half court.
At just 23 years old, there's still plenty of room for the defensive-minded center to grow into a reasonable two-way threat and become the kind of player Jordan envisioned he could be. One year ago, Biyombo was staring down a reasonable chance of playing his next season overseas. After carving up the Cavaliers, he's got all the security he could ever need now in Orlando.