Raptors fans rejoice for the team finally has a legitimate starting power forward. Reported by Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical, the Toronto Raptors have agreed to send swingman Terrence Ross and a 2017 1st round pick to the Orlando Magic for Serge Ibaka. Raptors President Masai Ujiri is known for maximizing his returns when making trades. This was seen in the Rudy Gay to Sacramento and the Andrea Bargnani to New York trades. However, this trade seems to benefit both teams equally.
Orlando has agreed to trade Serge Ibaka to Toronto for Terrence Ross and a 2017 first-round pick, league sources tell @TheVertical.
Toronto Finally Has a Starting Power Forward in Serge Ibaka
By trading away Terrence Ross, the Raptors have freed up a significant amount of minutes for the emerging Norman Powell. Powell has shown that when given playing time, he can produce on both ends of the floor.
For Toronto, the team needed a power forward desperately. At 27 years old, Serge Ibaka could be a hand-in-glove fit with the Raptors. His ability to impact the game on the defensive end with his elite shot-blocking presence will be very welcomed in Toronto. Offensively, Ibaka has improved his three-point game which allows him to stretch the floor offensively.
In this trade, the Raptors also acquire Ibaka’s Bird Rights. Meaning the Raptors can go over the cap if they choose to re-sign Ibaka. This is significant because the Raptors will also be looking to sign All-Star Kyle Lowry to a maximum contract. According to Wojnarowski, the Raptors have every intention of retaining Serge Ibaka long-term.
Sources: Toronto is trading for Ibaka with intention of trying to re-sign him in free agency this summer. Masai Ujiri has long coveted him.
In terms of the draft pick, the Raptors already have a plethora of young prospects. Therefore trading a pick that’s likely going to be in the twenties is not a huge loss. Losing Ross’ long-range shooting will be missed in Toronto but this will provide an opportunity for Powell to shine. Ultimately, Serge Ibaka is a player the raptors can add to their core and make a strong run in the playoffs with.
Grade for the Raptors: A
Ross and a 2017 1st Allows Orlando to Commit to the Rebuild
This past offseason, the Orlando Magic sold the farm and dealt a number of promising young players including Victor Oladipo for Ibaka. The Magic were reshaping their identity with an emphasis on defense. By trading for Ibaka and signing former Raptor Bismack Biyombo really put this plan into action. However, it did not result in many wins as the Magic find themselves presently in 14th place in the Eastern Conference.
Heading into the offseason, the Magic were going to be faced with a difficult decision regarding what to do with Ibaka. With only one year left on his contract, the Magic ran the risk of losing Ibaka for nothing or overpaying just to keep him.
The acquisition of Ross and a draft pick in a stacked 2017 draft class is a good haul for Ibaka. However, considering the moves the Magic made in the offseason, the team essentially traded swingman Victor Oladipo and Domantas Sabonis for Ross and a draft pick. When factoring that in, one could make the argument that the Magic ultimately lost in that trade.
Although the Ibaka experiment didn’t work, the Magic can enjoy this small victory. Terrence Ross on a very affordable contract and a first round pick is always an asset. With a late season playoff push looking highly unlikely, the Magic can fully commit to a proper rebuild.
Grade for the Magic: B+