What Serge Ibaka going to Toronto means for Celtics

  • What Serge Ibaka going to Toronto means for Celtics

What Serge Ibaka going to Toronto means for Celtics

The Toronto Raptors, flexed their trade muscles by acquiring Orlando's Serge Ibaka in a deal involving Terrence Ross, as reported Tuesday. Ibaka represents a seamless fit for the Raptors who could help swing the balance of power in the Eastern Conference.

In his first (and only) season with the Magic, Ibaka averaged 15.1 points, 6.8 rebounds, 1.1 assists, 1.6 blocks and 1.5 3-pointers while shooting 48.8 percent. Love is averaging 20 points and 11.1 rebounds for the defending National Basketball Association champions, who are in Minnesota to play their second-to-last game before the All-Star break.

But the deal was part of a head-scratching sequence of events for Orlando, who acquired Ibaka over the summer before log-jamming their frontcourt with free agent signings.

While early indications suggest Toronto will try to re-sign Ibaka this summer, that's a problem for another day.

But ultimately, Magic general manager Rob Hennigan essentially turned Harris, Harkless, Oladipo, and the No. 11 pick in the 2016 draft (Sabonis) into Toronto's sixth man and a 2017 first-round pick somewhere in the 20s.

As the National Basketball Association trade deadline draws nearer, the Toronto Raptors have landed one of the biggest names said to be available in a swap: Orlando Magic big man Serge Ibaka. The trade will net the Magic small forward Terrence Ross, as well as a 2017 first-round pick. To go along with that, Toronto's starting unit now includes DeMar DeRozan, Kyle Lowry, Ibaka and Jonas Valanciunas, a group that should put up a fight in a seven-game series with any team in the East. Even if they don't make another move, the Raptors have made a heavy splash here, and they've improved their talent base and roster balance without sacrificing too much in terms of near-term production. The trade proposal I have come up with will, I believe, benefit both teams involved.

Ross has two more full seasons remaining on his contract at a salary of $10.5 million per year. The Raptors' long-term future was a question mark before they made this trade and, so far as how they'll contend for a championship after the 30-year-old Lowry starts to decline, that skepticism remains.