In an offseason meant to circulate entirely around Phoenix Suns big man Deandre Ayton, who had Bismack Biyombo drawing trade interest on their bingo cards?
While the Indiana Pacers had the Phoenix front office on speed dial and the Dallas Mavericks were getting acquainted with JaVale McGee, one Eastern Conference team was doing their homework on the Suns’ lone remaining center.
According to Sean Deveney of Heavy.com, one Western Conference coach named Biyombo as a possible trade target for the reigning Eastern Conference champion Boston Celtics. The report touched on Boston’s remaining trade exceptions and minimal depth down low that might factor into their interest in the journeyman big.
“He is the kind of find that the Celtics could really use in that hole, a guy who blocks some shots, plays good defense and holds down the fort off the bench,” the source told Deveney. “If Phoenix has some injuries and is really disappointing, maybe he winds up on the market but they really like what he did for them last year.”
Given his skills as a rim protector, screener, and experience at the NBA level, Biyombo makes for an excellent backup and guy to have whispering in the ear of Robert Williams. While many teams would like to carry an effective, stand up guy like Biyombo on their bench, those aforementioned factors do make the Celtics a better fit than most others.
However, just because Boston and Biyombo might make sense, getting him there in a trade that works for both sides feels a bit more questionable.
Would a deal for Bismack Biyombo between the Phoenix Suns and Boston Celtics make sense?
This summer, Phoenix re-signed Biyombo to a one year, $2.9 million contract. Theoretically, Boston could take on his contract easily by way of their trade exceptions (Dennis Schroder or Juan Hernangomez) or send over that figure in salary.
But is there anyone realistically available on Boston’s roster who Phoenix might want on theirs? To be frank, no there’s not.
The 27 year old, seven-foot-two big man Luke Kornet feels like the most likely player to come over in any deal given his position, age, and contract. However, swapping Kornet for Biyombo feels like a downgrade for the Suns no matter how you cut it.
Last year, Biyombo developed chemistry in the pick-and-roll with Chris Paul and Devin Booker almost immediately. There is no way of knowing whether or not Kornet can replicate that. Biyombo also averaged a career-high 14.9 points per 36 minutes last year, proving himself highly effective in his spurts off the bench.
The coach who spoke to Deveney about Boston’s interest in Biyombo also noted that with how effective Biyombo proved to be last year, he would be “surprised” if the Suns pulled the trigger on a deal to ship him out. Boston’s general manager Brad Stevens also mentioned that he and the Celtics are “high” on Kornet earlier this offseason, which might further complicate any deal.
So while Boston’s interest in Biyombo may be real, any pathway that brings together each side will be crowded with barriers. For that reason, you can bet on Biyombo playing out the entirety of his 12th NBA season here in the desert.
With Biyombo on that one-year deal though, keep an eye out for the Celtics to pursue him next offseason assuming that they continue to keep tabs on him. We’ll cross that bridge when we get to it though.