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Serge Ibaka Reportedly Exercises $9.7M Clippers Contract Option

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistJuly 31, 2021

Los Angeles Clippers' Serge Ibaka looks to pass in the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Cleveland Cavaliers, Wednesday, Feb. 3, 2021, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)
Tony Dejak/Associated Press

Serge Ibaka is staying with the Los Angeles Clippers

The veteran forward reportedly exercised his $9.7 million player option for the 2021-22 season on Saturday, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic and Stadium. 

Ibaka, 31, had an up-and-down 2020-21 season in his first campaign with the Clippers. When healthy, he averaged 11.1 points, 6.7 rebounds and 1.1 blocks per game, shooting 51 percent from the field and 33.9 percent from three. His rim protection and ability to stretch the floor on offense made him an upgrade over the team's big man options from seasons past. 

But injuries also cost him 31 games during the regular season and all but two brief appearances in the first round of the postseason. 

It's clear Ibaka wants another shot at getting a title with the Clippers next season. After his injury-plagued 2020-21 campaign, it's also questionable whether he could have gotten a better deal on the market. The Clippers will be hoping he can stay healthier than his debut campaign. If he does, L.A. should again be a major title threat, assuming Kawhi Leonard doesn't miss the entirety of the season. 

If he struggles to stay on the court, though, the team will again be without arguably its best interior player.  Leonard and Paul George haven't fully lived up to the enormous expectations placed on them when they teamed up in Los Angeles, and they need key role players like Ibaka to help get them over the hump.

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