Clippers Rumors: Latest Buzz on Serge Ibaka, Marc Gasol Free-Agency Interest

Maurice Bobb@@ReeseReportFeatured ColumnistNovember 22, 2020

Toronto Raptors' Serge Ibaka stands on the court during the first half of an NBA preseason basketball game against the Houston Rockets Thursday, Oct. 10, 2019, in Saitama, near Tokyo. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
Jae C. Hong/Associated Press

It looked as if it was taking a while for the Los Angeles Clippers to get in on the action for the 2020 NBA free-agency period, but they are now starting to move full speed ahead.

According to The Athletic and Stadium's Shams Charania, Serge Ibaka has agreed to sign a two-year deal with the Clippers. Per ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski, the deal is worth $19 million.

The second year has a player option.

With the signing, L.A. beat out the competing Brooklyn Nets and the Toronto Raptors, who wanted to re-sign him.

This move will reunite Ibaka with former teammate Kawhi Leonard after the latter parted ways with the Raptors after helping them to win their first and only championship.

The seven-footer fills a glaring need for L.A., especially with the surprise departure of Montrezl Harrell.

On the first night of the free-agency period, the reigning Sixth Man of the Year signed a two-year, $19 million deal with the Los Angeles Lakers, which signaled that his relationship with Leonard may have been an issue.

Outside of the size, scoring, ability to stretch the floor and rim protection that Ibaka provides, he also has a great relationship with Leonard.

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Last season, the normally reclusive three-time Finals MVP was a guest on Ibaka's "How Hungry Are You?" cooking show on YouTube. Not surprisingly, the episode is the most-watched in his collection at 4.9 million views.

Ibaka calls Leonard the "Fun Guy," and the moniker has stuck with him, despite the overwhelming perception to the contrary.

In his fourth year in Toronto, Ibaka continued to play as a reserve, starting in only 27 of the 55 games he played, but he still managed to have an impressive stat line, including a career-high 15.4 points, 8.2 rebounds, 1.4 assists and 0.8 blocks per game.

"I give him a lot of credit because he's accepted it and played well," Raptors head coach Nick Nurse told Josh Lewenberg of The Sports Network last season about Ibaka coming off the bench. "He didn’t wanna go to the bench. He wants to start. It wasn’t easy after the trade immediately... But he’s been a true professional... He’s handling it great."

The Congolese center also shot 38.5 percent from the three-point line. That long-distance marksmanship will force the big men defending him to come out on the perimeter, creating space for Leonard and others that like to penetrate the lane like Lou Williams.

With Harrell gone, Ibaka should be able to pick up his minutes and have an equally impactful year on the block for the Clippers.

His veteran presence should also be a plus for the Fun Guy as he tries to step into more of a leadership role in his second year as the franchise player.

Will the Clippers Sign Another Big?

John Amis/Associated Press

The Clippers are hoping familiarity continues to work in their favor in landing Marc Gasol.

According to the New York Times' Marc Stein, they are in the race to land the Spanish big man.

The 2013 Defensive Player of the Year played with Ibaka in Toronto, and it would be a seamless transition for him to join him in L.A.

The Clippers will have some competition, though, as the Raptors are trying to convince Gasol to re-sign after the departure of Ibaka.

He's also getting interest from the Golden State Warriors, per Wojnarowski.

In his 13th season, Gasol was the starter for Toronto, averaging 7.5 points, 6.3 rebounds and 3.3 assists per game.

The smooth-passing center was also a threat from deep, connecting on 38.5 percent of his three-pointers.

Between his spacing, court vision and defense, Gasol could really be an asset for the Clippers as they try to shore up their front line to go up against the reigning NBA champion Lakers, who now have Harrell in addition to Anthony Davis.

Follow Bleacher Report writer Maurice Bobb on Twitter @ReeseReport.