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Biyombo needs a solution


Some Biyombo updates I had neither seen nor heard, though they're a week or so old: * When it comes to his NBA agent rights, he has fired his former Spanish agent and signed with Bell Management International, who work out of Maryland. Perhaps they will have an easier time of negotiating the NBA waters. * His Spanish team now claims to hold his rights through 2014 with a $3 million buyout on the contract. Previously, those numbers were reported to have been 2012 and $1.4 million. * Biyombo is in a contract dispute with that team and is attempting to get five months of his salary as well as the contract voided. He apparently claims the club didn't pay him on time going as far back as September '010 and also refused to help him get a visa to play in the Nike Hoop Summit. Biyombo's new management has been negotiating with his club in an attempt to reach a settlement as recently as the middle of last week.

ACB Copa del Rey


This is the biggest midseason title in European basketball, played for from Thursday to Sunday in Madrid. Imagine a small NBA midseason tournament that features the four best teams each from Western and Eastern Conference, while actually meaning a lot to the players. Not quite as big as an NBA championship, but not too far behind either. That's what Copa del Rey is in Spain. Participants are the ACB's top 8 teams, which include 4 current Euroleague Top16 clubs. Players to watch from a NBA perspective: - Ricky Rubio, obviously. He's playing against his former team Joventut in the quarter finals on Friday. Barcelona is heavy favourite. - 1991-born Nikola Mirotic (Real Madrid), played in the Nike Hoop Summit, now taking the Euroleague & ACB by storm. Plays basketball mature well beyond his years. Super high ball IQ, flawless jumpshot, great stretch four in the making. Draft eligible, but unsure what his plans are. - Victor Claver (Valencia), Trail Blazer draftpick, is playing the best season of his young career. - Fran Vazquez, the famous Orlando Magic pick, is a free agent next summer. He took Copa del Rey MVP honours last year. - Ante Tomic (Real), Utah Jazz draftpick, 7'1 center who can score in the post with either hand. Soft as tissue though. - Joventut with Franch, Jelinek and Tomas. Remember this is the club that had 3 players (Rubio, Eyenga, Norel) in the 2009 NBA Draft, second only to UNC. - Nemanja Bjelica, role player for Caja Laboral. Tough season for him, but having some better games lately. He'll have his first game on Friday as well. Additionally, some former NBA players (Sergio Rodriguez, Navarro, Alan Anderson, Mickeal, Esteban Batista, etc.) as well as more draftpicks (Stanko Barac, Erazem Lorbek, ... ). Plenty of talented players as well who never have and probably never will play in the NBA. Official ACB stream is showing all games for free, the Final game even in English commentary. This is probably the best tournament organisation and media performance outside the NBA. Most likely plenty of NBA scouts present. Schedule (local time) here

Spanish Copa del Rey (Sergio Llull)


In case you are interested in catching footage of 2009 Rockets 2nd Round pick Sergio Llull, ACB is providing a high quality internet stream of the Spanish Cup tournament, the "Copa del Rey" (King's Cup) this weekend. The Copa del Rey is a prestigous cup tournament in the middle of the season, clearly one the season highlights, even if not as important as the ACB championship. Since Americans are not used to this concept - think about a small midseason tournament consisting of the best four NBA teams from each the East and the West, which doesn't have any influence on NBA standings, but everyone badly wants to win. This Cup tournament is really an enjoyable product - high quality stream, high level of play, solid attendance numbers. Yesterday, FC Barcelona - Ricky Rubio (5th pick 2009), Erazem Lorbek (Pacers 2nd Rounder), Juan Carlos Navarro (former Grizzlies), Pete Mickeal - beat CajaSol Sevilla 77:72 and Power Electronics Valencia - Nando de Colo (2009 2nd Rounder), Victor Claver (2009 Trail Blazers 1st Rounder), Florent Pietrus (Mickael's brother) - defeated Estudiantes Madrid 75:73. Today Llull's Real Madrid will face DKV Joventut Badalona as favourite to make it to the semis. Real Madrid also features Lithuanian center Darjus Lavrinovic (who had been rumoured many times to join an NBA team), potential 2010 2nd Rounder Vladimir Dasic, Marko Jaric and the veteran playmaker Pablo Prigioni, plus Americans Travis Hansen and Louis Bullock. Joventut Badalona is the former team of Ricky Rubio and always features a ton of talented youngsters, among them Christian Eyenga (30th pick 2009 by the Cavaliers), Henk Norel (2009 2nd Round pick by the Timberwolves), American sharpshooter Clay Tucker and the up and coming 1991 born point guard Josep Franch, one of the revelations of the season and surely a future NBA draftee. The other quarterfinal will feature Caja Laboral - the great Tiago Splitter, Mirza Teletovic (a more athletic Vladimir Radmanovic) and Brasilian playmaker Marcelinho Huertas - versus hosts Bizkaia Bilbao. Bizkaia Basket Bilbao vs. Caja Laboral Baskonia 19:30 local time Real Madrid vs. DKV Joventut Badalona 21:50 local time Correct me if I'm wrong, but US Central Time Zone should be -7 to the Central European Time Zone, so the Real Madrid game should start at 14:50 US Central Time. The online stream should be accessible via the headline link, or via the official website www.acb.com, which will have a link to the online stream before and after the games. (I haven't heard of any restrictions, usually the stream works fine for watchers from all countries)

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