Published: Thu, February 16, 2017
Business | By Megan Pierce

Kyle Lowry, DeMar DeRozan Pumped With Serge Ibaka Coming

Kyle Lowry, DeMar DeRozan Pumped With Serge Ibaka Coming

Really the one big concern about this trade is that the Magic essentially swapped Victor Oladipo, Domantas Sabonis, and Ersan Ilyasova for Terrance Ross and a first round pick.

Ibaka was averaging a career-high 15 points and seven rebounds per game this season with the Orlando Magic. He's one of six players averaging at least 1.4 blocks and 1.4 made threes per game. Powell represents the first significant time a Raptors second round pick has worked out in the National Basketball Association.

After a almost two-year stranglehold on the East's No. 2 seed, Toronto has slipped all the way to fifth recently as other up-and-coming teams - namely the Celtics, Wizards, and somewhat shockingly the Hawks - have emerged as viable threats, not just to the Raptors but to the suddenly-reeling Cavs as well. He is shooting a career-best 38.8 percent from the three-point line. Ibaka's real age has always been a point of speculation in the league, something that is sometimes a concern for players born in developing nations going through civil war like DR Congo, according to multiple sources.

Terrance Ross' play has stayed stagnant over the past couple seasons as he has remained as a player that can get hot from deep at times and possesses incredible athleticism. As a small forward, the Magic could elect to play him at small forward and move Aaron Gordon back to power forward. Ibaka, another Congolese player, may be just the spark the Raptors needed come playoff time. With Ibaka, the Raptors have a capable shot blocker on defense and a reliable stretch four on offence.

Ibaka, 27, will be a free agent after this summer.

Masai Ujiri first laid eyes on Serge Ibaka more than a decade ago in South Africa, where he watched the Congolese youngster roll for 20 points and 20 rebounds in a FIBA Africa U18 Championship game.

The forward's first game in a Magic jersey will be no easy test, with Orlando hosting the San Antonio Spurs tomorrow.

Orlando ultimately landed Ross, a more proven but older player with less upside, instead. Ross has two years left on his contract following this season and is set to make $10.5 million in each of those seasons.

Whilst Toronto may sit fifth in the East, they're just five wins behind the conference-topping Cavaliers, with the Raptors having already matched up against many of their long-distance Western Conference rivals.

"We tried to play a lot of big lineups, and in my mind it hurt us on both ends - both with the mobility on the defensive end and the 3-point shooting element of it and the speed you need on the offensive end to counter these offenses that you're seeing".

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