Ibaka to the Raptors CONFIRMED!
- Author: Zachary Reyes Feb 16, 2017,
Feb 16, 2017, 18:25
Ibaka is averaging a career-high tying 15.1 points per game this season to go with 6.8 rebounds. While he's not the dominant shot blocker he was with Oklahoma City in previous seasons, Ibaka's still an excellent two-way player, capable of extending the floor. Assuming he is ready, Ibaka gives Toronto the ideal answer for Love.
Ibaka might not be the feared rim protector he once was (two years ago, opponents only shot 40.7% at the rim against him - a stellar mark), but he still offers some solid resistance there and is a strong team defender.
To put that in perspective, the Cleveland Cavaliers own the most expensive roster in the National Basketball Association this season at $127 million.
Much has been made about the recent ominous comments by DeMar DeRozan and Kyle Lowry about the state of the Toronto Raptors and their current slide down the standings. It's a terrific move from Ujiri.
Ibaka appears to be strictly a rental player for the Raptors, who have started six different players at power forward this season. Even when you consider Oladipo and Ilyasova were set to be free agents after this season at the time the deal was made, it's still pretty bad. The move was met with some scrutiny as the Magic traded Victor Oladipo, Ersan Ilyasova and the draft rights to Domantas Sabonis.
Here's what Magic coach Frank Vogel had to say about this drop a few weeks ago: "The league's changed dramatically over the last three or four years".
Now, as the National Basketball Association approaches the All-Star break and next week's trade deadline, it's clear that the experiment with Ibaka didn't quite pan out as the Magic expected it to. Terrence Ross is a decent enough long-range shooter with a vicious dunking habit.
Ross, 26, is averaging 10.4 points through 54 games in his fifth season in Toronto. The Celtics are not interested in surrendering assets of value, including first-round picks and prospects like Rozier, for short-term acquisitions that do not clearly put them over the top for title contention, per sources. It was originally owned by the Clippers and is expected to fall in the mid-20's. The veteran forward is now with the Raptors at the expense of Terence Ross and a future pick.
It's an understandable deal for Orlando, but a no-brainer for Toronto. 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 February 23 and make the move. He also pointed out how Isaiah Thomas and Al Horford give them a pair of proven, All-Star caliber players to lean on. "Leaf-7242/">T.J. Leaf, Wenyen Gabriel and Josh Jackson, Swanigan has gotten himself into better shape this season, which has allowed him to play consistently harder for longer stretches.