Orlando Magic without key free-agent signing for tonight’s game against Miami Heat

 

Orlando's Bismack Biyombo, shown here fighting Justise Winslow for a loose ball in last year's playofss while with Toronto, is suspended for tonight's game against Miami. (Getty Images)
Orlando’s Bismack Biyombo (8)  is suspended for tonight’s game against Miami because of too many flagrant fouls during last year’s playoffs while with Toronto . (Getty Images)

ORLANDO – The Magic will be without their prize free agent acquisition for tonight’s opener against the Heat.

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.

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2016 NBA free agents: Should Heat go after center Bismack Biyombo as backup plan?

Bismack Biyombo #8 of the Toronto Raptors celebrates late in the second half of Game Seven of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals against the Miami Heat during the 2016 NBA Playoffs at the Air Canada Centre on May 15, 2016 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images)
Bismack Biyombo #8 of the Toronto Raptors celebrates late in the second half of Game Seven of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals against the Miami Heat during the 2016 NBA Playoffs at the Air Canada Centre on May 15, 2016 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images)

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.

If the Heat look to see where they stand with impending free agent Kevin Durant before making a strong push for Whiteside, their “No. 1 priority” could slip away. What is the Heat’s backup plan at center? Continue reading “2016 NBA free agents: Should Heat go after center Bismack Biyombo as backup plan?”