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Report: Magic, before trading Serge Ibaka to Raptors, feared he’d leave as free agent

Orlando Magic  v New York Knicks

NEW YORK, NY - JANUARY 02: Serge Ibaka #7 of the Orlando Magic reacts to a missed shot in the second half against the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden on January 2, 2017 in New York City. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

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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:

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).