The Orlando Magic has already given up on Serge Ibaka as they sent him to the Toronto Raptors on Tuesday. The power forward was embraced by the Raptors in exchange for Terence Ross and a first round pick of 2017.
The Magic has reportedly ended their experiment involving Ibaka, Bismack Biyombo and Nikola Vucevic in a three-person big-man rotation play. The team already let go of the former as they acquired Ross instead of re-signing Ibaka. It has been revealed that the team concluded that they need to swap Ibaka for another player before the trade deadline, otherwise they might suffer from zero benefits when the player decides to just leave during the summer.
Magic's general manager Rob Hennigan also admitted that they have been frustrated by the way their team has been performing. He also pointed out how they needed to make necessary changes that can help the team redeem itself in the next season. With this said, Ibaka is one of the players they are willing to let go. Also, the 27-year-old player has reportedly not shown interest in staying with the team, hence it has been logical for the team to put him on the trading block.
The Raptors already attempted to acquire Ibaka last year during the off-season from the Thunder. However, the team chose to sign with the Magic instead, in exchange of Victor Oladipo, Ersan Ilyasova, and Domantas Sabonis. This year, though, the Raptors already had their dream of taking Ibaka come true.
The Raptors are one of the sure contenders to the playoffs in the Eastern Conference as they are currently positioned at the 5th spot in the division's standing. However, they are zero pointers against the Cavaliers, the Warriors and the Spurs this season, hence making them look into taking in a good support for DeMar DeRozan and Kyle Lowry.
Ibaka is expected to help the team on multiple fronts. His slumping defensive efficiency might not have contributed much to the Magic, but to the Raptors, he reportedly represents a major upgrade. Also, letting go of Ross is said to open doors to the solid contributor, Norman Powell. With the roster shifting to these players, enthusiasts believe that the Raptors achieved a better positional balance while addressing their weakness without compromising their assets.
The Magic, on the other hand, is believed to have gotten in a win-win situation when they pushed with the deal. Ross may not make up for their loss of Oladipo and Sabonis, but the 26-year-old shooting guard can get more points for the Magic.
Ross has proven himself as a good three-point shooter which he believes can be his major contribution to the Magic. He has also recently expressed his optimism on his new role to his new team and said that he looks forward to how his talent and experience can help the team go further in the next season.