Bismack Biyombo is suspended for the opener because of accumulating too many flagrant fouls during playoffs last season while playing for Toronto.
Biyombo, a 6-foot-9, 255 pound center who signed a four-year, $68 million deal during the summer, exceeded the limit with a Flagrant Foul 1 in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference finals for elbowing Cleveland’s Kevin Love. Had the Raptors extended the series he would have been forced to miss Game 7 and been eligible to play tonight.
Instead, the Cavs closed it out and the suspension carried over to this season.
“You could definitely use him against (Hassan) Whiteside,” Pacers coach Frank Vogel told the Orlando Sentinel. “But we’ll throw (Serge Ibaka) and (Nikola Vucevic) in there at the center spot and they’ll be able to man the ship, too.”
Biyombo moved into Toronto’s starting lineup during the conference semifinals against the Heat after Jonas Valanciunas sprained his ankle in Game 3. He averaged 6.7 points and 8.4 rebounds during the seven-game series against Miami.
Although none of Biyombo’s flagrant fouls were against the Heat, Miami’s Josh McRoberts picked up a flagrant foul in Game 7 when he hit Biyombo. McRoberts tired of Biyombo celebrating his big day – 17 points, 16 rebounds – in Toronto’s win.
Is bringing back center Hassan Whiteside the Heat’s No. 1 priority this offseason?
Pat Riley said Whiteside is Miami’s top priority in a May press conference after the season. But Whiteside could be ready to call Riley’s bluff, as he’s expected to meet with the Mavericks in the early hours of free agency and also is being targeted by the Lakers and Trail Blazers.