Serge Ibaka is the latest name to emerge on the trade market as the February 9th trade deadline approaches. Ibaka and the Milwaukee Bucks have agreed to send him to a new team. The veteran big man has only appeared in 16 games in 2022-23, away from the team for weeks.
In limited minutes this season, he is averaging 4.1 points and 2.8 rebounds while shooting 48.1 percent from the field and 33.3 percent from three. Ibaka was once a dominant defensive player and rebounder, but he is in the late stages of his career.
Still, there’s a chance Ibaka could make an impact off the bench for these three playoff contenders if they’re able swing a trade with the Bucks.
The Brooklyn Nets could be an intriguing landing spot for Serge Ibaka. Brooklyn is fourth-place in the Eastern Conference, led by the star duo of Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving. Durant sprained his MCL and will continue to be out for at least a couple more weeks.
The Nets are a contender in the East and could use some depth in the frontcourt. Ibaka likely wouldn’t cost much to acquire, and he previously played with Durant on the Oklahoma City Thunder. Nic Claxton has thrived as the starting center, putting himself in Defensive Player of the Year conversations. Ben Simmons has taken on the role as the small-ball center, while Day’Ron Sharpe has seen limited minutes as the backup big.
Ibaka could serve as a traditional backup center that can space the floor from three. It wouldn’t cost much, and Durant could enjoy a reunion with Ibaka.
Another reunion that Serge Ibaka could make is with the Toronto Raptors. Ibaka won a championship with the Raptors back in 2019, and they could use depth at center. While Ibaka wouldn’t be a starter for Toronto, they could use a traditional center, starting with Pascal Siakam. Precious Achiuwa has been a productive backup but is undersized at 6’8”.
The Raptors are in 11th place in the Eastern Conference at 20-26, and if they decide to go for depth instead of selling, Ibaka could be a good option. He is familiar with the system and has chemistry with some players already on the roster. His frame would give Toronto much-needed depth, even if he didn’t play many minutes per game.
1. Sacramento Kings
The Sacramento Kings could be a great landing spot for the veteran center. While Ibaka may not play many minutes for the Kings, he would be a good veteran presence in the locker room. Sacramento is having a phenomenal season as they sit in third-place in the West at 25-18.
The Kings have a quality team built around the star duo of De’Aaron Fox and Domantas Sabonis. Kevin Huerter, Harrison Barnes, Keegan Murray, Malik Monk and Davion Mitchell have all been key pieces for Sacramento this season.
Adding another veteran next to Matthew Dellavedova would give the Kings more leadership and playoff experience to impart to the young players. Most of their roster has not made it to the postseason, while Ibaka and Dellavedova have both been a part of championship teams. It will likely not cost much to acquire Serge Ibaka, and the valuable mentorship and experience he could provide for this young group could go a long way.