Raptors Trade For Serge Ibaka

Rather than continuously add to the previous post, I figured that I'd just make a new one.

As per Adiran Wojnarowski, who broke the news - 

 

Yessir! The Toronto Raptors have traded Terrence Ross and the lesser of the two 1st Round Picks that they possess(ed) to the Orlando Magic for Serge Ibaka.

Ibaka has been on the Raptors' radar since the summer at the draft. In fact, reports indicate that the Thunder wanted Cory Joseph, Norman Powell, Patrick Patterson, and the 9th overall pick in exchange for Ibaka before dealing him to Orlando. When seeing how little in comparison it cost the Raptors to land the same player, it's not hard to come to the conclusion that patience has paid off.

I suppose since late last week and into the weekend, we should have seen this coming. When there's smoke, there is indeed fire. The trade rumo... sorry, rumour mill has been spinning, suggesting that the Raptors are actively pursuing a power forward to help boost the team out of the slump that they currently find themselves in. From DeMar DeRozan stating to the media that he "wouldn't mind help," to Kyle Lowry openly stating to the media that "something needs to change," the writing was on the wall that Masai Ujiri had to make a deal in order to get the Raptors back on track. 

In so many ways, this improves the Raptors on both ends of the floor. For starters, this allows Patrick Patterson to come off the bench, a role in which he has thrived in, specifically in the playoffs last year. Although our best defender, and arguably third most important player up to this point, Patterson is no team's starting power forward, in a perfect world. That is not at all a knock on him or his abilities. But to rely on Patterson to play that starting stretch-four role is a bit too much to ask for.

This is also makes our defense a bit more solid, as Ibaka can space out the floor much better than Patterson, and is an excellent rim defender. Picture Bismack Biyombo, but times 10. At just 27 years old (on paper....) and standing 6'10", Ibaka fills the glaring holes that the Raptors had all season. This much improves their rebounding (specifically on the defensive end), and he can mirror the role Patterson plays, acting as a stretch-four as Ibaka is able to hit the trey. While playing for the Magic this year - a team that includes Biyombo and Nikola Vučević, Ibaka played 30.5 minutes a game, averaging 15.1 points and shooting 49% from the field and 38% from deep, 6.8 boards, 1.6 blocks ("get that gahbage outta here!"....sorry... I'll just.... sorry.), and 1.1 dimes. When looking at numbers like this, and while knowing how clusterfucked the Magic were (and still are), this is extremely encouraging. Oh, and let's not forget that Ibaka has played in 89 postseason games! EIGHTY-FUCKING-NINE!

Although losing Ross means losing a bench piece that acts as a deep threat, the positive side is that this should allow Norman Powell to see the floor more and continue to develop. We've seen what it's like when Norm plays limited minutes and goes into crucial situations unprepared. It's..... it's just not pretty. But now with Ross gone, Powell should be able to expand his role a bit more and continue to flourish into, what looks to be, a big part of the Raptors' future.

Lastly, and this isn't something that should be overlooked, this should definitely boost the morale of the locker-room. With the clear dissatisfaction that I mentioned earlier that DeRozan and Lowry exhibited, Ujiri most certainly delivered for his team. It's a sign that he listens to his players and will do what it takes to make a push to go over Cleveland, even if it means acquiring a rental piece. Well done, Masai!

It shouldn't be overlooked how much of a class act Ross was regarding his departure, as shown by his tweet - 

 

Thank you, Terrence Ross. You were fun to watch and I hope you can strive and excel in Orlando. You handled this with class and poise. Best of luck.

Happy Valentines day. Share this love. Hopefully they can carry this momentum with a victory over Chicago (FOR THE LOVE OF GOD!). I hear a certain Raptors killer isn't playing.  However, it should be noted that Ibaka most likely won't play tonight in Chicago, and perhaps even tomorrow. We should receive confirmation soon.