CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — The agent for Bobcats rookie Bismack Biyombo insists the seventh pick in the draft will play for Charlotte next season despite a buyout dispute with his Spanish team.
"At the time the lockout is over and the season starts, the player will be playing with the Bobcats," Igor Crespo told The Associated Press in a phone interview. "Everything else is not relevant."
A spokesman for Madrid-based Fuenlabrada said last month the team is fine in letting the 18-year-old Biyombo out of the last two years of his contract, but expects to receive a $1.4 million buyout.
The two sides held a mediation session earlier this month. Crespo declined to reveal the results, saying only he believed the buyout figure was made public to "put pressure on us."
But he stressed the issue wouldn't prevent the 6-foot-9 Congo native from reporting to Charlotte's training camp on time.
"I cannot give any details for anyone," Crespo said. "But the only thing you need to know is whenever the season starts, whether that's October, November, December or February, the player will be there to play with the Bobcats from the first game."
The Bobcats traded top scorer Stephen Jackson to Milwaukee on draft day in a three-team deal that landed Charlotte the seventh pick from Sacramento. That allowed new Bobcats general manager Rich Cho, who had worked out Biyombo earlier this year when he was GM of the Portland Trail Blazers, to take the raw, shot-blocking, defensive specialist with suspect offensive skills.
Cho acknowledged on draft night Biyombo had an issue with his Spanish team contract, but expected it to be resolved. He later declined to answer questions once the buyout figure was announced by Fuenlabrada. The NBA is preventing team employees from commenting on player issues during the labor dispute.
Crespo, who said Biyombo is working out with a personal coach in Tampa, Fla., indicated it was too early to say if he'll seek to find a job overseas for his client if the lockout drags into the start of the season.
"That will be a decision that will be made later," he said. "I don't know what the situation will look like in a month, two months."
But Crespo added that even if Biyombo played overseas, it wouldn't prevent him from reporting to Charlotte once the lockout ends.
"He's been excited about the Bobcats every single minute," Crespo said. "He will play his dues as a rookie."