NBA Rumors: Serge Ibaka, Bucks Mutually Agree to Seek Trade for Forward at Deadline

Mike Chiari@@mikechiariFeatured Columnist IVJanuary 20, 2023

MILWAUKEE, WI - NOVEMBER 16: Serge Ibaka #25 of the Milwaukee Bucks dribbles the ball during the game against the Cleveland Cavaliers on November 16, 2022 at the Fiserv Forum Center in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2022 NBAE (Photo by Gary Dineen/NBAE via Getty Images).
Gary Dineen/NBAE via Getty Images

The Milwaukee Bucks and veteran big man Serge Ibaka are reportedly on the same page about finding a new home ahead of the Feb. 9 NBA trade deadline.

According to Shams Charania of The Athletic and Stadium, the Bucks and Ibaka have mutually agreed to seek out a trade partner.

Ibaka, who is in the midst of his second season with the Bucks, has been away from the team for about a week because of personal reasons. While no public statements have been made regarding the exact reason for Ibaka's absence, it has been speculated that he may be unhappy with his limited role this season.

The 33-year-old Ibaka is a 14-year NBA veteran who has enjoyed stints with the Oklahoma City Thunder, Orlando Magic, Toronto Raptors, Los Angeles Clippers and Bucks.

While he was a full-time starter for much of his career, Ibaka has primarily been a bench player over the past two seasons, and it has yielded his lowest production since his rookie season in 2009-10.

Last season, the Bucks acquired Ibaka from the Clippers in a four-team trade, and he went on to appear in 19 regular-season games for Milwaukee, averaging 7.0 points and 5.3 rebounds per contest.

Although he didn't have a huge role, Ibaka was happy enough in Milwaukee to sign a one-year contract to remain with the Bucks, but he has largely fallen out of the rotation.

Ibaka has appeared in just 16 games and is averaging career lows in minutes per game (11.6), points per game (4.1), rebounds per game (2.8) and blocks per game (0.4).

Those numbers are a far cry from his career averages of 12.0 points, 7.1 rebounds and 1.9 blocks.

Milwaukee boasts one of the best starting frontcourts in the NBA led by Giannis Antetokounmpo and Brook Lopez, plus a third highly productive big in Bobby Portis, which has left Ibaka on the outside looking in.

The 6'10" native of the Republic of Congo could still be a significant contributor to a winning team in the right situation, though, and it seems the Bucks will attempt to find him a better fit.

Since Ibaka is an impending free agent, he figures to have at least some interest on the trade market. He is also a three-time NBA All-Defensive Team selection, a two-time blocks champion and won an NBA championship with the Raptors in 2019, so he is the ideal veteran addition for a contender.

The Bucks are contenders in their own right, as they are tied for second place in the Eastern Conference at 29-16, but head coach Mike Budenholzer clearly feels more comfortable with a rotation primarily comprised of wings and guards, making Ibaka a piece that no longer fits.