Tuesday, 27 June, 2017

Raptors, Heat have 'expressed interest' in Serge Ibaka

Houston Rockets: Serge Ibaka Should Be A Trade Target NBA rumors: Latest trade deadline news on deals, contracts, more
Juana Turner | 16 February, 2017, 00:54

With Ibaka having originally been acquired for Victor Oladipo, Ersan Ilyasova and the draft rights to the young Domantas Sabonis, it leaves the Magic in an unusual situation. In his first year away from Oklahoma City, the 27-year old Ibaka is averaging 15.1 points per game (tied for a career-best), 6.8 rebounds and 1.6 blocks.

Ibaka's average of almost 15.1 points per game, is higher than any Raptor outside of DeRozan and Lowry.

During his time with the Thunder, Ibaka led the league in blocked shots twice (2012, 2013) and averaged 11.6 points, 7.4 boards and 2.5 swats in 524 games while helping lead Oklahoma City to an appearance in the NBA Finals. Toronto owns two first-round picks in the draft - including the Clippers' pick - and will send Orlando the lesser in value of the two choices, league sources said. The Raptors basically treaded water for a decade plus before making this unheralded move.

"We've been talking about a four for the past year or two as an addition to our team, and we got a guy like Serge at a critical point when we needed him", DeMar DeRozan said. The Magic are not in a great position in the Eastern Conference at the moment, and they had a problem at the Power Forward/Center position with Ibaka, Aaron Gordon, Nikola Vucevic and Bismack Biyombo all vying for playing time. Despite the key acquisition of Serge Ibaka, the Raptors know that he is technically a short-term fix.

Ross is in the first year of a year of a three-year $31 million dollar extension he signed last season. But that hasn't happened as the Magic remain a bottom-of-the-standings team in the East and Ibaka hasn't made a noticeable impact - especially on the defensive end, where he usually thrives. That may be the market for Ibaka this summer, and while there has been interest in Toronto by Ibaka, he's still going to go where he gets paid. Ibaka will join a team that is only six games out of the top seed in the East but carries a huge chip on their shoulder from previous year.

ESPN's Mark Stein has reported that the Toronto Raptors and the Miami Heat have expressed their interest in Ibaka, however, he also noted that the Magic may wait until the day of the deadline to make a decision.

For two years, the Raptors have been viewed as being just short of truly being able to challenge the Cleveland Cavaliers for Eastern Conference supremacy.

"We tried to play a lot of big lineups, and in my mind it hurt us on both ends - both with the mobility on the defensive end and the 3-point shooting element of it and the speed you need on the offensive end to counter these offenses that you're seeing".

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