The Orlando Magic aims to keep Serge Ibaka whom they attained through a trade with Oklahoma City Thunder questions are swarming if the Magic could hold to Ibaka as the Toronto Raptors has planned to pursue him next summer.
The Magic obtained Ibaka through a trade last June from the Thunder in return for Victor Oladipo, Ersan Ilyasova, and Domantas Sabonis. Ibaka still has a $12.3 million in his contract and will become a free agent next summer. The Magic hopes to keep Ibaka as he would be a keeper in their rebuilding process with his seven-year experience.
Ibaka brings to the Magic an average of 12.6 points, 6.8 rebounds and 1.9 blocks in a span of 13.99 minutes per game. Ibaka proved his worth when the Thunder battled the Golden State Warriors in the playoffs. In that series, Ibaka averaged 14.6 points, 7.2 rebounds and 1.6 blocks per game.
The Magic-Ibaka relationship will work in two ways that are if the Magic would trust in the role that Ibaka will bring to their franchise. Ibaka brings a versatile type of play as he could protect the rim, shoot from beyond the arc if needed, and defend the perimeter as well.
This is a typical player that the Magic has been wanting for many seasons and if it works for them Ibaka could get an extension by the end of the season. If not, then the Magic will have nothing to worry if Ibaka decides to sign with another team next summer such as the Raptors.
The Raptors, for their part, is hoping to fill the void at the power forward position that was left when Bismack Biyombo also decided to sign with the Magic. Though they are set to put their resources such as Jared Sullinger to the test, getting back at the Magic by pursuing Ibaka will be the Raptors’ plan for next summer.
The Raptors sees the Magic having a logjam as both Ibaka and Biyombo will have to contest for playing time with Nikola Vucevic and Aaron Gordon. If the Raptors get Ibaka via free agency next summer he would be a big fit as he would be able to play side-by-side DeMar DeRozan and spread the floor with Jonas Valanciunas.
It will still be a long way for teams and it’s too early to talk about what will happen as the NBA season has yet to start. But one thing is for sure it will be a test for the Magic to see if Ibaka will blend in with their system and it will it be a time for the Raptors to count the days so that they could get the chance to snag Ibaka next year.
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