July 24, 2017

Trade Grades: Serge Ibaka Deal Adds Raptors To East Arms Race

15 February 2017, 12:57 | Simon Arnold

Trade Grades: Serge Ibaka Deal Adds Raptors To East Arms Race

Orlando Magic forward Serge Ibaka dribbles against Dallas Mavericks forward Harrison Barnes during the second half of an NBA basketball in Dallas Saturday Feb. 11 2017

Really the one big concern about this trade is that the Magic essentially swapped Victor Oladipo, Domantas Sabonis, and Ersan Ilyasova for Terrance Ross and a first round pick. I don't think anyone in the Eastern Conference has a defensive rating under 102 (points per 100 possessions). The Raptors, who have fallen from No. 2 to the East's fifth seed, doubled down on their team with the belief that it can make a run at an NBA Finals appearance.

Ross signed through 2018-19 season (combined $31 million).

Even with some of the sheen having come off Ibaka since his peak in Oklahoma City, he is still a massive upgrade over what the Raptors have at power forward, particularly with Patrick Patterson out of the lineup.

In the short-term, acquiring Ibaka is a slam dunk for Toronto.

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Ibaka is better and younger than Gibson, though both are going to be unrestricted free agents this summer. In 56 games this season, Ibaka is averaging 15.1 points, 6.8 rebounds and 1.6 blocks in 30.5 minutes a night.

Power forward has been the Raptors' biggest position of need, and Ibaka can slide in right away, provide spacing on offense for Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan, while also helping the slow-footed Jonas Valanciunas on defense.

But Orlando created a logjam in the frontcourt with Ibaka, Gordon, Nikola Vucevic and Bismack Biyombo, and pieces just never fit together.

Adrian Wojnarowski reports Tornoto is trading for Ibaka "with intentions of trying to re-sign him in free agency this summer", adding "Masai Ujiri had long coveted him". He will also give Orlando a boost in floor spacing with his 3-point shooting. He made the Raptors a better team, he's still only 26 years and he's old under contract at a convenient price for the next few years. Even when the deal was made last summer that brought Ibaka to his short-lived stay in Orlando, Ujiri was surprisingly confident he would eventually get his man. The Raptors owned two first round picks, and the deal will send the lesser in value between theirs and the one they have from the Los Angeles Clippers to the Magic.

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