Report: Magic, before trading Serge Ibaka to Raptors, feared he’d leave as free agent
Remember when, upon being traded to the Magic last summer, Serge Ibaka said he wanted to stay in Orlando forever?
A 21-36 record and an overcrowded frontcourt comes at you fast.
The Magic traded Ibaka to the Raptors today, in part, because his feelings about Orlando appeared to change.
Ramona Shelburne of ESPN:
Orlando believed Ibaka would re-sign with them in FA when it traded for him on draft day, but they'd increasingly come to feel he'd leave.— Ramona Shelburne (@ramonashelburne) February 14, 2017
The Magic were right to fear Ibaka walking in unrestricted free agency this summer. But their bigger concern should have been re-signing him.
Ibaka has shown major signs of decline this season. Whether that’s due to aging or being stuck on a bad team, the conditions were likely to remain in place in Orlando during what would have been expensive long-term contract to keep him.
The Magic were never going to recoup what they dealt for Ibaka (Victor Oladipo, the No. 11 pick and Ersan Ilyasova), but at this point, that package was a sunk cost. Orlando did well to get what it did for Ibaka now (Terrence Ross and a first-round pick).
Essentially, the trade with the Thunder was backfiring for the Magic, one way or another. Orlando is fortunate it went south as quickly as it did (and credit the Magic for recognizing that).