NBA rumors: Oklahoma City return an option for Serge Ibaka?

The Clippers moving Serge Ibaka appears to be the most likely trade deadline maneuver for Los Angeles. Shedding Ibaka’s $9.7 million salary alone would save the Clippers over $40 million in tax penalties. As noted by’s Bobby Marks, the Clippers still have $3.3 million available to send out in a trade this season, and only $3.1 million of Ibaka’s salary would remain on his contract this year before he becomes a free agent. Oklahoma City is a trade partner to monitor, league sources said.

More on Serge Ibaka Trade?

Some teams believe the Raptors would listen to calls on players like Gasol and Serge Ibaka, both of whom are in the final years of their contracts and, seemingly not in their long-term plans. There’s also speculation that Kyle Lowry could be had at the right price — the kind of seismic moves teams headed for the postseason wouldn’t normally make.
The trade value of Gasol and Ibaka appears more situational, and it seems likely they would only trade one and not both. Still, one can imagine a center-starved team like Boston or the Clippers making a few calls Toronto’s way as we get into January.
As for veterans Kyle Lowry, Marc Gasol and Serge Ibaka – who are all on expiring deals – the Raptors have no intention of moving them, at least not before the season, according to sources. Like he did with previous Raptors teams, Ujiri will give this group an opportunity to sink or swim before choosing a path and deciding what comes next.
If Ujiri is looking to make a significant change to his roster, particularly in the starting lineup, a frontcourt shakeup is more likely. Even after a season and a half, the Raptors are not sold on the Ibaka-Valanciunas pairing, according to team sources, believing both are better suited playing centre at this stage of their careers. If it simply came down to preference, Toronto would gladly move on from Ibaka following his inconsistent 2017-18 season and disappointing playoff performance. However, finding a trade partner willing to absorb the $44.9 million he’s owed over the next two seasons would almost certainly require them to take back a bad contract, or cost them additional assets – picks or young players, something Ujiri may be reluctant to do after parting with a first and second-rounder to unload ’s contract a year ago.
Brian Windhorst: Two teams in the last year have said 'You know what? We're not so sure about Serge, we're gonna move on from him.' And yet it wouldn't surprise me if Serge Ibaka is earning more money next year than Kevin Love.
Apparently Sergie Ibaka was too tired to go - which made Terrence Ross unable to play. Despite Ross coming in early, getting film & shots. It was a little obvious Ibaka did not bond with his Magic teammates but hearing guys had real issues with him and happy to see the change. Heard that Serge really struggled with how Magic young guys wanted to play & he just never bought in belief is he'll fit better with Raptors. While his pending free agency was a factor it was not the biggest factor in the decison - attitude, expected role, age played biggest role.
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.’’
The Celtics weren't too interested in dealing a 1st and Rozier like Orlando wanted for Ibaka since they can use cap space in July. Celtics were not willing to include Rozier in a potential Ibaka trade per multiple sources.
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).
Ira Winderman: Heat among those linked to Ibaka, who will be unrestricted free agent in the offseason.
There's a growing sense around the league ‎that Ibaka could be on the move again as the league's Feb. 23 trade deadline draws near. The Thunder shook up the 2016 NBA draft when, just days before Durant's free agency, they dealt Ibaka to the Magic. Orlando was willing to part with Victor Oladipo and the rights to No. 11 pick Domantas Sabonis to make the swap, confident that Ibaka could be sold on a long-term future in the Magic Kingdom.
Sources say that Toronto and Miami are among the Eastern Conference teams that have expressed interest in Ibaka this month. More than one rival club has expressed the belief that Orlando will use the next 10 days before the deadline to keep fielding offers and then, ultimately, choose the best available package for Ibaka on Feb. 23 and make the move.
Meanwhile, Riley is expected to explore moves before the Feb. 23 trade deadline. One name we’ve been told is on Miami’s radar: Orlando forward Serge Ibaka, an impending free agent for whom the Magic reportedly is willing to consider offers.
There is also some interest in Orlando power forward Serge Ibaka, who is apparently is on the trade block. Ibaka scored 28 points in 40 minutes in the Magic's loss at Houston on Tuesday night. Ibaka would bring a defensive presence and another shooter that could fit into Mike D'Antoni's offense. In late December when the Rockets lost starting center Clint Capela to a fractured fibula, ESPN's Marc Stein reported Houston entertained acquiring Sacramento center Kosta Koufos.
There was talk recently about Ibaka heading to the Raptors, but the more that situation has been talked about it seems less likely that Toronto will give up meaningful assets for the Magic’s would-be free agent. Sources close to the situation labeled the Raptors as a favorable situation for Ibaka long-term, but it’s unclear if he’d give assurances of re-signing there. Ibaka does share the same agent as Raptors star Kyle Lowry, so that is an easy answer to obtain.
Earlier this week, a Western Conference executive told me that several teams were shopping big men that they had just added this past summer. He was somewhat surprised by this, and he mentioned Indiana’s Al Jefferson, Washington’s Ian Mahinmi and Orlando’s Serge Ibaka as some examples of recent frontcourt additions who are seemingly available.
It has not taken long for buyers’ remorse to kick in. League sources told Sporting News that the Magic have picked up their attempts to move Ibaka ahead of next month’s trade deadline, eager to ensure that they come away with some return for a player who does not figure to be in Orlando long. Ibaka will be a free agent this summer. There is no chance of a Biyombo trade, not after the Magic paid him $70 million for four years this offseason.
In the East, both the Celtics and Raptors need some frontcourt defensive depth, and Toronto has been consistently interested in having Ibaka fill its power forward void. The Raptors are not much interested in giving up fifth-year swingman Terrence Ross (who is having his best NBA season) for Ibaka, though, a source said.
Also heard there's a potential deal on the table for Ibaka, any info on that? (Maybe just a rumour) Steve Kyler: I have not heard that. I would be very skeptical of anyone suggesting that.
In the end the Raptors balked at sending Cory Joseph, Norman Powell, Patrick Patterson and their No. 9 pick to Oklahoma City for Ibaka. Ujiri wants to add to his talent base, not create a new weakness (bench strength), which is why he stood still at the trade deadline too.
Ibaka never demanded a trade, league sources told The Vertical, and he put together a productive season (12.6 points and 6.8 rebounds) while sharing the frontcourt rotation with the emerging Steven Adams and a slightly more reliable Enes Kanter. But the Thunder are proactive; the possibility of them losing an asset for nothing is unsettling.
Last season, Ibaka believed it could. In the months after Oklahoma City hired coach Billy Donovan, Ibaka formed a strong bond with the incoming coach, league sources told The Vertical, and entered the season believing he would have an expanded role in the offense. He didn’t. “There was an expectation of a larger role,” Ibaka’s agent, Andy Miller, told The Vertical. “It was overpromised and under-delivered. Everyone should be held to the same level of accountability across the board.”
The Blazers knew Aldridge was fine with Batum leaving, just as the Thunder know Durant is fine with Ibaka heading elsewhere in his prime, per several league sources.
Ibaka bristled about his lack of touches in Oklahoma City and for the past year has been sending signals he might leave in free agency, sources have told Goran Dragic and his camp agitated in the same way as the Suns imploded during the final year of Dragic's deal; the Heat swooped in and nabbed the guard for two first-round picks and zero relevant players.
Serge Ibaka: Time flies. 7 years in Oklahoma City, a place where I grew up, became the player I am today, competed with a great team and made great friends. A place I can call home. Thank you state of Oklahoma and your wonderful people. Thank you @okcthunder, staff, employees, teammates and fans. You will be in my heart forever.
For a team that won 55 games and finished one win shy of the NBA Finals, it was a stunningly significant shakeup. Ibaka, 26, had been a key component of the Thunder's core for seven years alongside Durant and Russell Westbrook. But Ibaka had grown unhappy with his role, a person familiar with the situation told CBS Sports, and was considered likely to leave as an unrestricted free agent in 2017. Though Ibaka had not requested a trade, it was reasonable to expect that such a request could be on the horizon.
“Serge (Ibaka) is a young veteran who brings tremendous athleticism and toughness to our frontcourt. His tireless work ethic and wealth of playoff experience will help enhance our culture and roster. We thank Victor (Oladipo) for all of his contributions both on the court and in the community. We wish him and Ersan (Ilyasova) the best of luck in the future,” said Rob Hennigan.
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