RealGM contributor Keith Smith reports that the Portland Trail Blazers are among NBA teams that have interest in Orlando Magic power forward Serge Ibaka.
Teams known to have interest in Ibaka are Toronto, Washington, Boston, Indiana, Houston, Portland, and San Antonio.— Keith Smith (@KeithSmithNBA) January 30, 2017
The Magic acquired Ibaka from the Oklahoma City Thunder in exchange for Victor Oladipo, Ersan Ilyasova, and Domantas Sabonis last June. Known primarily for elite rim protection in his days with the Thunder, the 27-year-old has produced admirably on the offensive end in Orlando, recording 14.9 points per game and a career-high 38.3 percent from three.
Ibaka is in the final season of a 4-year, $49.4 million contract, after which he will become an unrestricted free agent. If Portland values Ibaka as an expiring contract, they can clear significant salary by offloading an unfavorable one in a potential deal and letting him walk this summer, but Smith also reports that the Magic are holding out for young players/picks to recoup their losses on Sabonis:
Sources indicate Orlando has had several offers for Serge Ibaka, but continue to hold out for a package that includes young players/picks.— Keith Smith (@KeithSmithNBA) January 30, 2017
Magic feel pressure to recoup value for Ibaka after trading Oladipo and a lottery pick (Sabonis) for him at the Draft.— Keith Smith (@KeithSmithNBA) January 30, 2017
If Portland sees Ibaka as a long-term option—which is possible since they need rim protection and their most glaring hole is at the power forward position—the challenge would become convincing Ibaka to re-sign at contract’s end. It is possible that he would be impactful enough to push the Trail Blazers toward a playoff berth this season, hurting draft position, but boding well for any sort of extended stay.
This all assumes that the Trail Blazers are legitimately interested and both sides can come to an amicable agreement. President of Basketball Operations Neil Olshey frequently deals with the Orlando GM Rob Hennigan, often coming out on top.
- 07/07/2016 - Acquired Shabazz Napier for cash considerations.
- 06/23/2016 - Acquired Jake Layman for cash considerations and a 2019 second-round draft pick.
- 02/18/2016 - Traded a 2016 second-round draft pick to Orlando in a 3-team trade with the Cleveland Cavaliers.
- 07/14/2015 - Acquired Maurice Harkless for a top-55 protected 2020 second-round pick and possibly a shiny button.
The February 23 trade deadline is fast approaching.