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

Serge Ibaka
Trade Grades: Serge Ibaka Deal Adds Raptors To East Arms Race
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15 February, 2017

Last June, Ibaka was traded from Oklahoma City in a deal that involved Victor Oladipo, Ersan İlyasova and the draft rights to Domantas Sabonis. The Toronto Raptors tasted the EC Finals last season but due to injuries and cold shooting they fell to the Cavs. Toronto president Masai Ujiri has full intensions of signing Ibaka to a new deal following the season. The Raptors became motivated to go all in after the Love news, as some around the National Basketball Association believe he may not make it back this year per sources.

Ross has two more full seasons remaining on his contract at a salary of $10.5 million per year.

The Toronto Raptors have finally got the defensive big man they've been coveting.

The Raptors have almost $77 million committed to player salaries next season, a number that's closer to $82 million when the contracts of Norman Powell and Fred VanVleet guarantee during the offseason and a rookie salary for Toronto's remaining first-round pick is added.

For the majority of his almost four years as the top basketball decision maker with the Raptors, Masai Ujiri has preached patience, stability and, occasionally, steadfast conservatism.

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The Magic made the move in part to try to get something back for Ibaka before risking losing him on the open market this summer. But with Norm Powell in the fold, the Raptors have a bit of an excess in that department and desperately needed help at power forward.

While Ibaka will be an unrestricted free agent this summer, the Raptors acquired him with the intention of trying to re-sign him.

Ross is now enjoying one of the better seasons of his career, averaging 10.4 points and 2.3 rebounds on 44-percent shooting. While the 6-foot-10 Ibaka did block a team-best 1.61 shots a game this season, Orlando's defense has sagged into the bottom-five in the National Basketball Association much of the past two months.

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

Raptors coach Dwane Casey has said all season long that the something is defence. "(Monday) night I thought he did a really good job on both ends of the floor". The Raptors have the Clippers' first-round pick in addition to their own and will send the higher of the two picks to the Magic.


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