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NBA Free Agent Serge Ibaka Signs with the LA Clippers

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One of the most coveted free agents of 2020 has found a new home at a modest price.

NBA: Playoffs-Toronto Raptors at Brooklyn Nets Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Free agent Serge Ibaka has agreed to join the Los Angeles Clippers for a contract equivalent to a mid-level exception. Shams Charania of The Athletic broke the signing news, with Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN adding salary details.

Ibaka has played 11 seasons in the NBA, suiting up for the Oklahoma City Thunder, Orlando Magic, and Toronto Raptors. He started 27 of 55 games with the Raptors last season, averaging 15.4 points and 8.2 rebounds in 27.0 minutes per game at the center position, shooting 51.2% from the field and 38.5% from the three-point arc.

The 30-year-old stood among the better free agents of 2020. Notably, Portland Trail Blazers fans appeared to covet him when a local media member retweeted a picture Ibaka sent of the player boarding a private plane, ostensibly for a free agent meeting. The red and black stripes on the plane hearkened to the Blazers’ color scheme. At that time, the Blazers had their own mid-level exception to offer. They could have fit Ibaka into their salary level at the same amount the Clippers offered. Instead Portland ended up with forward Derrick Jones, Jr. in that salary slot while Ibaka went to Los Angeles. No evidence of a meeting, or even a discussion, between the Blazers and Ibaka has come forward.

Ibaka will join former Raptors teammate Kawhi Leonard in LA. They will team up against cross-town rivals, and fellow big men, LeBron James and (presumably) Anthony Davis.