Serge Ibaka Traded to Raptors for Terrence Ross: Latest Details, Reaction

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistFebruary 14, 2017

Orlando Magic's Serge Ibaka of Republic of Congo plays against the Minnesota Timberwolves during the second half of an NBA basketball game Monday, Jan. 30, 2017, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Jim Mone)
Jim Mone/Associated Press

The Toronto Raptors added a double-double threat and an imposing defensive presence to their frontcourt Tuesday, as they acquired Serge Ibaka from the Orlando Magic

According to Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical, Orlando will receive small forward Terrence Ross and a 2017 first-round pick in return. Sam Amick of USA Today confirmed the deal.

Per Wojnarowski, the Raptors will send the lower of their two first-round picks to Orlando as part of the trade. They have ownership of their own first-round selection, as well as the one belonging to the Los Angeles Clippers.

Wojnarowski added Toronto is trading for Ibaka with the "intention of trying to re-sign him" in free agency and that general manager Masai Ujiri has "long coveted him."

This comes after Sean Deveney of Sporting News reported in January the Magic "picked up their attempts to move Ibaka" before the Feb. 23 trade deadline. He'll become a free agent during the offseason, and the rebuilding franchise, which sports a 21-36 record, was looking for return value before he presumably left for another team.

Ibaka spent the first seven seasons of his career with the Oklahoma City Thunder as a critical part of a franchise that reached the 2012 NBA Finals and three more Western Conference Finals during his tenure.

However, Oklahoma City traded him to Orlando last June for Victor Oladipo, lottery pick Domantas Sabonis and Ersan Ilyasova.

Keith Smith of RealGM said the Magic were holding out for younger players and picks in potential Ibaka trades and added they were attempting to "recoup value" for the big man after giving up so much to acquire him during the 2016 draft.

Still, according to Deveney, a front office executive said, "They're asking too much," especially since Ibaka could be just a short-term rental before free agency. Orlando didn't have much leverage in discussions either, considering Deveney wrote prior to the trade "there is virtually no chance he stays in Orlando beyond this season."

Ibaka was also eating into the younger Aaron Gordon's minutes, which are more valuable at this stage of the rebuilding process.

Part of the issue for Ibaka in Orlando was the fact he didn't carry the defense to elevated heights like the team probably envisioned when trading for him.

His defensive prowess has stood out throughout his career. He led the league in blocks per game for consecutive seasons, averaging as many as 3.7 per contest in 2011-12 as an athletic rim protector who can cover plenty of ground in front of the basket and along the baseline:

Serge Ibaka's Career Per-Game Stats
SeasonTeamMinutesPointsReboundsBlocksField-Goal Percentage
2009-10Oklahoma City Thunder18.16.35.41.354.3
2010-11Oklahoma City Thunder279.97.62.454.3
2011-12Oklahoma City Thunder27.29.17.53.753.5
2012-13Oklahoma City Thunder31.113.27.7357.3
2013-14Oklahoma City Thunder32.915.18.82.753.6
2014-15Oklahoma City Thunder33.114.37.82.447.6
2015-16Oklahoma City Thunder32.112.66.81.947.9
2016-17Orlando Magic30.515.16.81.648.8
Source: ESPN.com

Marc J. Spears of ESPN's The Undefeated noted the Raptors were interested in Ibaka in early February. Ibaka is just 27 years old and can space the floor from his power forward spot (38.8 percent from three this season) and provide rim protection when guards penetrate against Toronto's outside players.

Ibaka can take advantage of openings when Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan penetrate and also draw his defender away from the rim. That, in turn, will open up more driving lanes.

Ibaka thrived with Oklahoma City when the team was a playoff contender and will now have the chance to do the same for the Raptors as they look to challenge the Cleveland Cavaliers and others in the Eastern Conference.

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