Serge Ibaka leaving Raptors to join Clippers on two-year, $19M deal: reports
|Toronto Star 22 Nov 2020 at 00:25|
According to reports, Serge Ibaka has decided to join the Clippers – the same team that wrested Kawhi Leonard away from Toronto in 2019 – on a two-year, $19-million US contract. The deal, according to both ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski and Shams Charania of the Athletic, also includes a player option in second season.
Raptors president Masai Ujiri and general manager Bobby Webster had met with Ibaka, the 30-year-old centre/forward who played 2 ½ seasons in Toronto, on Saturday, hours after they had come to terms with free agent Fred VanVleet on a .
Ibaka, who had his best NBA season in 2019-20, averaging 15.4 points and 8.2 rebounds per game, had been weighing offers from Toronto, Brooklyn and the Clippers.
The Raptors were loathe to extend a deal past the coming season, preferring to keep salary cap space open for a bumper crop of 2021 free agents. They could have paid Ibaka any amount they wanted on a one-year deal but he decided to take a longer term contract from Los Angeles.
The move will leave Ujiri and Webster scrambling to find a starting-calibre centre for a roster anchored by VanVleet, Kyle Lowry, Pascal Siakam, OG Anunoby and Norm Powell.
Marc Gasol, another of Toronto’s free agents, remains a viable option but it’s unlikely the Raptors will deviate from their plan to fill the spot short-term and have more money to spend after next season.