Published: Wed, February 15, 2017
World | By Carl Welch

Raptors Bulk Up After Reportedly Acquiring Serge Ibaka

Raptors Bulk Up After Reportedly Acquiring Serge Ibaka

In exchange, the Magic will receive Terence Ross and the lower of Toronto's two first-round picks in 2017. As a player under coach Dwane Casey the past couple of years, he has settled into a role as a bench shooter.

The Raptors starting five now consists of Kyle Lowry, DeRozan, DeMarre Carroll, Ibaka, and Jonas Valanciunas. Toronto had been rumored to be searching for an upgrade in the frontcourt recently, with reports tying them to Hawks All-Star forward Paul Millsap as well as Ibaka.

After a pair of unexpected deals kicked off National Basketball Association trade season, one of the league's more predictable, sensible deals came to fruition Tuesday morning. With free-agent decisions looming for Lowry, Ibaka and Patterson.

Now, as the National Basketball Association approaches the All-Star break and next week's trade deadline, it's clear that the experiment with Ibaka didn't quite pan out as the Magic expected it to. If there ever was an opportunity for Toronto to make the Finals, it would be this year. Underqualified as a lead option due to his lack of playmaking ability, Ibaka is accustomed to life as a safety valve, whether that's finishing dump-offs around the basket or keeping defenses honest from mid-range.

The Raptors parted with Ross, who is in the first year of a three-year, $31 million contract, and a pick to get the deal done. The C's, who sit second in the East, trail the Cavaliers by two games.

For the majority of his almost four years as the top basketball decision maker with the Raptors, Masai Ujiri has preached patience, stability and, occasionally, steadfast conservatism. The move was met with some scrutiny as the Magic traded Victor Oladipo, Ersan Ilyasova and the draft rights to Domantas Sabonis. The Raptors were clearly better off without them. This counts as a clean, logical, and well-timed move, even if the onus remains on Ibaka to prove he can still be a major game-changer like he was earlier in his career.

Ibaka comes with a cost, of course.

Here are the terms of the deal, per Wojnarowski. Ross averaged 10.4 points and 2.6 rebounds, but the high flier has never been able to provide Toronto with the consistency they were looking for from him.

Ross can expect more opportunities in Orlando, despite the team now ranking last in the Southeast Division.

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