NBA trade rumors have the Toronto Raptors pushing hard to acquire Serge Ibaka from the Orlando Magic. The Raptors may have realized that the chance to compete for an Eastern Conference title is slipping away, leading to a pursuit for help at power forward. With Orlando looking to deal some key pieces before the NBA trade deadline on February 23, it appears that the Raptors have picked up the phone.
A report by the Sporting News states that the Toronto Raptors are in active discussions with the Orlando Magic to complete a deal. These NBA trade rumors indicate that the team is dangling a 2017 first-round draft pick as part of a package that would bring back Serge Ibaka. Young players such as Norman Powell, Bruno Caboclo, Jakob Poeltl, Pascal Siakam, or Fred VanVleet could even be part of the trade.
After losing 10 of their last 14 games, Raptors coach Dwane Casey had some comments to make about the state of his team.
“I’ve got to look at it. It’s not one player. It’s coaching staff, it’s all of us in this together. Some of our bench guys are now starting, our second group are in the first group, their chemistry is off a little bit. There’s no excuse. We’ve got to dig ourselves out. We’ve put ourselves in this situation, we’ve got to dig ourselves out.”
It might be easy to point to the loss of power forward Patrick Patterson (recently) to a knee injury as a reason the team has struggled, but there were overtures around the league for another big man well before that. With the team already set at center, it has created a situation where many NBA trade rumors link the team to any available power forward. Could this be the time to make a big acquisition to try to catch the Boston Celtics for the No. 2 seed in the East?
In addition to trying to acquire Serge Ibaka from the Orlando Magic, the Toronto Raptors are in current negotiations with the Chicago Bulls for Taj Gibson and the Denver Nuggets for Danilo Gallinari. As previously reported by the Inquisitr, the Nuggets just made a deal with the Portland Trail Blazers that could make Gallinari even more available. The question becomes whether the Raptors want a scoring forward or a defensive minded player like Ibaka.
Serge Ibaka got traded by the Oklahoma City Thunder to the Orlando Magic for Ersan Ilyasova, Victor Oladipo, and Domantas Sabonis during the past NBA offseason. He will be a free agent at the end of the current season, with the expectation that he is going to receive a nice bump in salary. Orlando doesn’t appear ready to offer him that new deal, making him an expendable asset as the NBA trade deadline approaches.
In 55 games with the Magic (all starts), Ibaka has averaged 15.1 points, 6.8 rebounds, and 1.2 blocks per game. He is down to just 30.6 minutes a game with the current rotation of the Magic, but could certainly play more minutes for a new team down the stretch. Ibaka could serve as the perfect compliment to the centers in Toronto, especially with his abilities to guard tougher opponents on the other end of the floor.
In the latest NBA standings, the Toronto Raptors have fallen to the No. 4 seed in the Eastern Conference. A hot Washington Wizards team just passed them and the Boston Celtics are starting to pull further away. The importance of escaping the No. 4 spot is to avoid possibly playing the Cleveland Cavaliers in the second-round of the NBA Playoffs. To do that, the Raptors may need to make a deal soon, with the negotiations with the Orlando Magic making the most sense.
The front office in Toronto knows that the window for competing with the current roster has a finite amount of time left. That could lead to some action taking place very soon, even if it costs an expensive price in unproven talent and future draft picks. Fans of the Magic should expect these NBA trade rumors to lead to a new power forward before February 24 hits.
[Featured Image by Dave Sandford/Getty Images]