Toronto Raptors Signing Serge Ibaka Next Summer?
The Toronto Raptors have a void to fill at the starting power forward spot. The Canada-based squad has emerged as one of the top contenders in the looming Serge Ibaka sweepstakes.Advertisement
Ibaka will be an unrestricted free agent next summer. It is unclear if he would want to stay with the Orlando Magic beyond next season. Several teams are already preparing cap space in the event the Congolese-Spanish cager wants out of the Magic Kingdom.
The Raptors believe they have a great shot at signing Ibaka in free agency. Raptors general manager Masai Ujiri has known the 6-foot-10 power forward since he was just a teenager, as per Sports Net.
Ujiri tried to acquire Ibaka before the trade deadline in February. The deal involved Norman Powell, Cory Joseph, Patrick Patterson and a first-round pick. The multi-player swap did not push through. Ibaka was instead shipped to the Orlando Magic in exchange for Victor Oladipo, Ersan Ilyasova and Domantas Sabonis this summer.
“Serge [Ibaka] is a young veteran who brings tremendous athleticism and toughness to our frontcourt,” said Magic general manager Rob Hennigan, via ESPN. “His tireless work ethic and wealth of playoff experience will help enhance our culture and roster.”
Ibaka is expected to be the team captain in Orlando. He will be the focal point of the offense alongside Nikola Vucevic, Jeff Green and Mario Hezonja.
The Magic will have $44 million in salary cap room next summer. The team has what it takes to sign Ibaka to a lucrative contract extension. However, Ibaka will be a highly-coveted free agent for the first time in his career. He might test free agency waters before making his decision.
As for the Raptors, the team made it to the Eastern Conference Finals last season. Despite their terrific play, Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan were simply outmanned by a stacked Cleveland Cavaliers squad. The addition of one key player, especially in the front court, would greatly improve the team’s championship bid in years to come.