``It’s been a challenge because what the league has d…

“It’s been a challenge because what the league has done over the last few years has been dramatic in terms of the style of play and the sophisticated offenses that you are seeing now,’’ Magic coach Frank Vogel said of his team’s struggles in trying to adapt to 3-point-heavy, “small-ball’’ lineups. “You see the offensive numbers just sky-rocketing league-wide. I don’t think anyone in the Eastern Conference has a defensive rating under 102 (points per 100 possessions). That just wasn’t that way a year or two years ago and it’s largely about the spread lineups that you are seeing. So it has been tough to play two bigs,’’ Vogel continued. “That’s why we went to putting (Biyombo) solely as the back-up center.’’

More on Serge Ibaka to Raptors

The Toronto Raptors announced Tuesday they have acquired forward-centre Serge Ibaka from the Orlando Magic in exchange for forward-guard Terrence Ross and a future first-round draft pick. “Our organization is excited to add a player of this caliber to our team as we strive to reach the next level," said Raptors President Masai Ujiri. "Serge Ibaka brings valuable postseason experience and elevates our talent level in many different areas. We thank Terrence for his dedication and service to the Raptors organization. He is a wonderful young man who has helped our team grow the last few seasons."
Mike Ganter: Ibaka will wear no.9. Last Raptor to wear that no. Was Pape Sow.
The Raptors will send guard/forward Terrence Ross and a 2017 first-round draft pick to the Magic, league sources said. 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. Toronto general manager Masai Ujiri has long been intrigued with Ibaka, and made the deal with the expectation that the Raptors will be aggressive in working to re-sign Ibaka this summer, league sources said.
Ibaka’s looming free agency in July became a stumbling block for the Magic, who had no assurances that Ibaka would re-sign with the team, league sources said. Ibaka, drafted 24th overall in 2008, averaged 15.1 points, 6.8 rebounds and 1.6 blocks in 56 games with Orlando. In eight seasons, he’s averaged 11.9 points, 7.3 rebounds and 2.4 blocks.
According to league sources, the Raptors have been actively involved discussions for at least three power forwards: Serge Ibaka of Orlando, the Nuggets’ Danilo Gallinari and the Bulls’ Taj Gibson. Toronto has collected a stockpile of young assets — Norman Powell, Bruno Caboclo, Jakob Poeltl, Pascal Siakam and Fred VanVleet are all 23 or younger — and the Raptors hold their own first-round draft pick, plus the Clippers’ pick, this season.
But Toronto has played hardball when it comes to acquiring power forward help. Caboclo does not figure to be part of any trade discussions, as he has been a project the team wants to complete itself. A source also said that Toronto has also long resisted the idea of trading sixth man Terrence Ross. The Raptors have been loath to mortgage the future entirely for players such as Gallinari, Gibson or Ibaka, all of whom can be free agents next summer (Gallinari has a player option worth $16 million, and could opt in for that final season).
Storyline: Serge Ibaka to Raptors
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Draymond Green and Damian Lillard to play for Team USA

Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard and Golden State Warriors forward Draymond Green are among the initial commitments to Team USA for the Tokyo Olympics this summer, sources tell The Athletic. Lillard, who turns 31 on July 15, will be playing in his first Olympics after dropping out of consideration for the 2016 Rio Games, where the U.S. men’s team won its third consecutive gold medal. Green, 31, was a part of the 2016 team, which finished the tournament 8-0.
This rumor is part of a storyline: 991 more rumors
Stevens interviewed Celtics assistants Jay Larranaga, Scott Morrison and Jerome Allen and plans to broaden the search to include Milwaukee Bucks assistant coach Darvin Ham and Billups, a person with knowledge of the process told USA TODAY Sports. ESPN reported the Celtics wanted to interview Nets assistant Ime Udoka, Dallas assistant Jamahl Mosley and Bucks assistant Charles Lee. Coaching insiders indicate the Celtics will hire externally rather than promoting from within.