Ryan Wolstat: Ibaka hasn't talked to Casey yet. About t…

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."
``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.’’
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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June 23, 2021 | 9:04 am EDT Update

Nate McMillan has reservations about coaching Hawks next season?

While McMillan is the team’s “interim’’ head coach, sources made it abundantly clear Hawks management would love to remove the interim title. However, sources also said the 56-year-old McMillan has some reservations whether he wants to be the permanent head coach and may prefer some other role in the organization. Money won’t factor into McMillan’s decision as he is financially set, sources said.
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The 24-year-old is just fearless, and it’s that kind of bravado that has everything to do with the Suns taking these two games without Chris Paul while he continues to go through COVID protocol. Beverley bothered him defensively, but Booker never backed down. I asked him afterward if their back-and-forth was good, old-fashioned playoff basketball, or if perhaps Beverley and the Clippers were going too far with the physicality. “That’s for you guys to decide,” he said. “They’re an aggressive team. That’s how they guard. All those guys, they’re athletic. Watching the previous series against Dallas and Utah, (they’re) switching everything and trying to turn teams over. But we’re figuring it out and we try to stay aggressive, stay with what we do and whether it’s basketball plays or not, we’ve got to move on to the next one.”
“CP has taken Cam Payne under his wing,” he said. “When you see Cam Payne coming into practice with Chris Paul, you’re wondering, you know — Chris Paul is usually the one here early and you see Cam Payne right behind him and you tend to ask questions, them two been together watching film, lifting weights together stuff like that. You could tell that Cam really took a different approach to a whole other level and he did it right in front of our eyes. Like I said, he was bound to have one of these games and he’s a guy who keeps it consistent. He plays hard both ends of the ball, and I just love his passion.”
“We want everybody to cherish this moment because we are built for this,” Antetokounmpo said. “That’s why we are here. No matter the pressure, no matter what’s going on, we are built for this. We believe in who we are. No matter what happens, win or lose, we’ll stay together and we’re just going to go out there and compete.” Antetokounmpo delivered for the Bucks in the series finale against the Nets with 40 points, 13 rebounds and five assists. For the series, he averaged 28.8 points, 13.6 rebounds and 5.1 assists.
Against Brooklyn, Antetokounmpo averaged 40.1 minutes per game, the most he has averaged in any series and by far the most he has averaged since Budenholzer became coach in 2018. Antetokounmpo played 50 of 53 minutes in Game 7. “I’ve prepared my body all year for moments like that, being able to play 40 minutes, 42, 45, 48, whatever it may be, 53,” he said. “(Budenholzer) knows the way I am. If I get tired I’m going to let him know. If I get tired and I need a 30-second break or a minute-break, usually we have a great way to communicate about that – that he can pull me out and put me right back.”
Two people who have played important roles behind the scenes for the Hawks are Larry Riley and Mike McNeive. Riley, once an assistant coach and scout for the Bucks, is a senior advisor to Hawks general manager Travis Schlenk. Before joining the Hawks, Riley played a major role in the enormous success of the Golden State Warriors as be drafted Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson while being the team’s general manager. McNeive, who worked as an advance scout and assistant coach for the Bucks during the George Karl regime, is the Hawks director of basketball operations.
June 23, 2021 | 5:32 am EDT Update

Nets upset with Kyrie Irving?

Sullivan is the author of “Can’t Knock the Hustle: Inside the Season of Protest, Pandemic, and Progress with the Brooklyn Nets’ Superstars of Tomorrow,” which released on Tuesday. In a conversation with our friends from Celtics Wire on their podcast, Celtics Lab, Sullivan said that Nets ownership was unhappy with Irving over his midseason “pause,” and that Irving could be available for the right offer.
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Matt Sullivan: “Let me give you guys a little news, I’m not sure that’s been out there. I’ve heard that Nets ownership was quite upset with Kyrie’s ‘pause,’ especially that maskless party that turned his psuedo-paternity leave into more like a COVID suspension. And in the last week I’ve heard rumblings – whispers, really, because cracking the Nets is kind of like breaking into the Kremlin, that Brooklyn GM Sean Marks would maybe, possibly, apparently be willing to at least listen to a trade offer for Kyrie this offseason. Now, I’m not sure what the market for Kyrie is at this point. It’s not like Ben Simmons giving you the headache on the court. It’s that complex personality that comes from off the court. I think it’s been annoying some people in the franchise. I can’t speak to his teammates, who obviously want to play with one of the world’s best and get him back there.”