This is the time of year when NBA trade rumors are peaking since the trade deadline is now closing in. One prominent player who has surfaced as a strong trade candidate is Orlando Magic power forward Serge Ibaka. Multiple media outlets, including Fox Sports, have reported that the Magic are stepping up their efforts to unload Ibaka. The article mentions the Toronto Raptors as one of the primary suitors for Serge Ibaka, since they are known to be looking for an upgrade at power forward.
FanRag Sports Network discusses the Raptors’ interest in Serge Ibaka, and how feasible it might be that Toronto could land Ibaka before the NBA trade deadline. Raptors small forward Terrence Ross has been mentioned in a number of recent NBA trade rumors, and this piece makes the case for Ross as the trade chip that could bring Serge Ibaka to Toronto. Sportsrageous also reports that a deal involving Ibaka and Terrence Ross is not only something that is being considered by the Raptors and the Magic, but that the swap would be a win-win if such a transaction were to take place.
One of the hot topics in the rumor mill this week is that the Toronto Raptors and Orlando Magic might be close to making a deal. The specific scenario that is being shared and discussed online is as follows: the Raptors would acquire Serge Ibaka, and in return, the Magic would receive Terrence Ross and one of Toronto’s first-round picks in the 2017 NBA Draft. This trade would be approved by the NBA league office, as verified by the ESPN NBA Trade Machine.
The Toronto Raptors are currently in third place in the Eastern Conference with a 29-19 record, so they are trying to claw their way to the top by further upgrading their roster. Power forward is a weak point for the Raptors after free agent acquisition Jared Sullinger failed to give that position a boost this season. Pascal Siakam is Toronto’s starting power forward, but he is much more suited to being a role player off the bench. Serge Ibaka would be a welcome addition to the Raptors’ lineup, providing them with rim protection and outside shooting from the power forward spot.
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Terrence Ross is a skilled (and sometimes explosive) offensive player, but he could be used to facilitate a trade due to the presence of fellow small forward DeMarre Carroll, who starts ahead of Ross. This hypothetical trade would leave Toronto thin at small forward, but that is a problem the Raptors may be willing to deal with if it means adding Serge Ibaka to their starting lineup.
Moving Serge Ibaka would allow the Orlando Magic to play Aaron Gordon at power forward, which seems to be his best position. Terrence Ross would likely start for the Magic and give them a scoring wing player, which is their top trade priority according to Fansided. Dealing Ibaka would leave Orlando with few options at power forward, but in addition to moving Gordon to that spot, veteran Jeff Green can also play the position, so they can cover their needs adequately if this deal goes through. The Magic would also receive one of Toronto’s two first-round picks in 2017, which are currently projected to be No. 25 and No. 26 (per NBADraft.net).
The key to this potential trade could be Serge Ibaka’s contract status. He is set to become a free agent at the end of the 2016-17 season, so there is some risk involved for the Raptors if they make a move for him now. On the plus side, Ibaka would appear to be more likely to re-sign with Toronto than he would with Orlando, since the Raptors are a contender and the Magic are all but out of the playoff race.
This sample from the latest crop of NBA trade rumors looks like a deal that would benefit both Toronto and Orlando. The Magic would like to get more for Serge Ibaka, but considering he is almost certain to leave the team via free agency this summer, this is as good an offer as they are likely to receive. The Raptors want to challenge the Cleveland Cavaliers for Eastern Conference supremacy, and adding Serge Ibaka would help them do just that.
[Featured Image by Phelan M. Ebenhack/AP Images]