NBA: Biyombo wants to play for Bobcats
CHARLOTTE — Rookie lottery pick Bismack Biyombo was among six Charlotte Bobcats who worked out Friday on the court at Time Warner Cable Arena.
Now he just hopes he’ll be there when the NBA season opens later this month.
Biyombo is in the midst of contract dispute with Fuenlabrada after playing for the Spanish team last season prior to being selected with the seventh pick in the draft. He’s suing the team for breach of contract and a civil trial scheduled for Dec. 19 in Spain could cause him to miss a portion of training camp — or even longer if he loses the case.
Biyombo’s United States-based agent Joel Bell doesn’t believe that’ll happen.
“He’s not going to pay anything,” Bell said. “He’s going to win the trial. They’re in breach of contract.”
Fuenlabrada wants a transfer fee to give up its rights to Biyombo.
If it comes to the point where the Bobcats have to surrender a transfer fee, they can only pay up to $500,000 under league rules. It’s unclear how much Fuenlabrada wants for Biyombo’s rights.
Bell said Biyombo wants to play for the Bobcats.
Biyombo was joined by fellow lottery pick Kemba Walker and teammates Gerald Henderson, Dominique McGuire, Matt Carroll and Tyrus Thomas at the workouts. Derrick Brown from the New York Knicks and Anthony Morrow from the New Jersey Nets also participated.
Players received permission to work out at NBA facilities across the country on Thursday, although NBA rules stipulate they can’t be monitored by the coaching staff.
Bobcats players began warming up with trainers for about 45 minutes before breaking into an old-fashioned 4-on-4 full-court scrimmage.
There were plenty of laughs along the way, and one scary moment when Thomas fell after a collision under the basket and briefly clutched his right leg. But he got up quickly and continued to play.
Henderson, who’s coming off left hip surgery, looked as graceful as ever, elevating for a two-handed dunk at one point. His lateral movement appeared fine.
Henderson hadn’t practiced at the Bobcats’ facility since May when he underwent surgery to repair a torn labrum due to a congenital issue that was causing an impingement. Henderson was scheduled to miss about four to six months.
Henderson said Friday he’s 100 percent and ready to go for the season.
“I probably would’ve been ready for the first game,” Henderson said. “It could have been a little rushed, you never know. Obviously the workout regimen will be a little different as we play every day. But I think my legs will be ready for it.”
Henderson should be a big part of Charlotte’s offense.
He came on strong toward the end of the season, scoring in double figures in 22 of his last 28 games, averaging 14.7 points during the stretch. He averaged 9.6 points, 3 rebounds and 1.5 assists for the season.
NOTES: The Bobcats announced the team will play the first of two preseason games against Southeast division rival Atlanta at 7 p.m. on Dec. 19. The Hawks will host the second matchup on Dec. 22 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets for the Dec. 19 game are already on sale.
The Associated Press