The top of the Eastern Conference looks different this morning after a trade sent Serge Ibaka to Toronto. According to a report from Adrian Wojnarowski, the Raptors traded Terrence Ross and a 2017 first-round pick to the Magic in exchange for Ibaka.
Orlando has agreed to trade Serge Ibaka to Toronto for Terrence Ross and a 2017 first-round pick, league sources tell @TheVertical.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) February 14, 2017
TNT's David Aldridge reports that the move was percolating for weeks.
Toronto/Ibaka has been in the works 4 weeks, but esp w/Love out 6 weeks, will Cs (bigs) and/or Wiz (bench) also make moves before deadline?— David Aldridge (@daldridgetnt) February 14, 2017
The Raptors acquired Ibaka to fill a pressing need in their frontcourt for a playoff run this year. The team currently ranks 27th in the league in defensive rebounding and 23rd in overall rebounding. Ibaka is also a reliable scoring option, averaging 15.1 points per game so far this season.
It's debatable how much Orlando really lost in the exchange considering that Ibaka's contract was set to expire after this season and the team has no assurances that he would re-sign.
Toronto pulled off the deal after having fallen from the No. 2 spot in the Eastern Conference earlier this season to No. 5. The team owns a 4-6 record in the last 10 games, well below the Celtics' and Wizards' 9-1 marks in that span.
This trade is the first major piece to move ahead of the NBA trade deadline on Feb. 23.
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