The NBA free agent period is in full swing and exciting moves are happening all over the league. While the Oklahoma City Thunder just got stronger by trading for Paul George, a former member of the Thunder just inked a very nice new deal as well. NBA insider Sam Amick reported that the Toronto Raptors have given Serge Ibaka a new 3-year deal worth $65 million.
ASM Sports, the agency that represents Serge Ibaka also confirmed the report that the superstar will remain with the Toronto Raptors. Ibaka became a star with the Thunder and led the NBA in blocks in four straight seasons from 2010-2014.
Serge Ibaka’s Worth To the NBA
The Thunder traded Serge Ibaka to the Orlando Magic before the final season of his contract when it appeared they would not retain him. The Magic then traded Serge after just 56 games to the Toronto Raptors in their race to the NBA Playoffs.
Serge Ibaka finished the 2016-17 NBA season with 1,173 points, the second highest of his career, although his block numbers dropped to only 124, the lowest outside of his rookie campaign. In the playoffs, Ibaka averaged 14.3 points-per-game, with 1.7 blocks, and 6.5 rebounds as the Raptors made it to the second round of the postseason before their elimination.
With the new Serge Ibaka NBA contract, he becomes the second highest paid player on the Toronto Raptors team behind only shooting guard DeMar DeRozan, who is playing under a five-year, $139 million deal. DeRozan, Ibaka, and center Jonas Valanciunas are all signed under the Bird Rights.
While Serge Ibaka has always been known as a shot blocker and a solid defensive player, he improved his long-range shooting last season hitting a career high 39.1 percent from the three-point line. Serge also hit an impressive 38.3 percent of his “catch-and-shoot” three-pointers last season.
Toronto Raptors Plans
The Toronto Raptors have been one of the top teams in the Eastern Conference since the 2013-14 NBA season. The Raptors have finished no lower than fourth in the East since that time, finishing last season in third behind the Boston Celtics and Cleveland Cavaliers. However, they lost five more games this past season than in the previous one and hope to improve next year.
The new Serge Ibaka NBA contract does prove to be tough for the Toronto Raptors when it comes to their tax bill. If they re-sign Kyle Lowry, they will face some penalties although they are considering trading point guard Cory Joseph to try to save some money.
[Featured Image by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images]