Serge Ibaka spent his first seven seasons in the NBA with the Oklahoma City Thunder before being shipped to the Orlando Magic on draft night for Victor Oladipo, Ersan Ilyasova, and the rights to Domantas Sabonis. Ibaka will spend at least one season in Orlando, where he’ll make $12.3 million before becoming an unrestricted free agent. Once he hits the market, according to Doug Smith of the Toronto Star, the Toronto Raptors are expected to make a vehement run at him.
“Rest assured, at this moment – and all know how things can change – I know a free agent Serge Ibaka is very much on their minds and without knowing the total math or 2017 numbers, I imagine they have a scenario in mind where it could work.”
Ibaka landing in the North isn’t far fetched by any means, and he would bring a ton of value to a team that’s right on the cusp of being a contender. Although they signed Jared Sullinger this off-season, the talent level favors Ibaka; versatility also benefits Ibaka as he can play either the power forward or center position.
His developing jump shot brings just as much value as what he does on defense, since spacing the floor allows more room for Jonas Valanciunas to work in the post, and would open up more driving lanes for DeMar DeRozan.
Defensively, Ibaka is still a stopper despite his numbers taking a dip in 2015-16. That doesn’t reflect him, however, as OKC’s team defense had dipped over the last two seasons since they adopted a more dynamic offense fueled by Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant before he departed.
Air Congo still managed to swat 1.9 shots per game last season, a number that would’ve led Toronto.
Data courtesy of Basketball-Reference
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