As suggested earlier by Pro Bball Report, opportunity knocks for Toronto Raptors president and general manager Masai Ujiri as the Thunder are shopping the three-time NBA All-Defensive First Team power forward Serge Ibaka.
The Thunder is shopping big man Serge Ibaka on this draft day, a source said. https://t.co/obBwkWDf6F
— Marc J. Spears (@MarcJSpearsESPN) June 23, 2016
Once again Thunder GM Sam Presti will be feeling the heat and he can see it coming … like James Harden, Jeff Green and Reggie Jackson before him, Serge Ibaka will be a free agent next summer and Presti must know by now, he isn’t getting three players on big contracts in OKC, he needs to re-jig his roster again.
The 26-year-old four-time NBA block leader has been in decline over the past two seasons, but his numbers are still impactful at 12.6 points, 6.8 rebounds, and 1.9 blocks per game in 2015-16. It’s worth the gamble that he’ll rebound in a contract year.
Ibaka needs a change of scenery. His once feared percentage of shots blocked in 2011-12 is now half of what it once was and his scoring, rebounding and three-point shooting has dipped noticeably in each of the past two seasons as well. However, he’s still putting up good numbers for a starting power forward and it shouldn’t be hard to convince oneself he’ll bounce-back big in a contract year.
Ibaka’s contract is a modest $12.3 million, so putting enough salary together shouldn’t be an issue in completing a trade and the Thunder don’t have a draft pick in 2016, so Ujiri can help Presti out big time with the 9th and 27th overall picks available for the Raptors to grease a trade.
Patrick Patterson and Nogueira for Ibaka straight up with the possibility of the 27th 2016 first round draft pick being put on the table should get Presti’s attention.
This deal would only be possible because Patterson is the much cheaper version of a “3-and D” power forward and once again Presti is looking for ways to pay Durant and Westbrook true max money while surrounding them with the complimentary talent the Thunder can afford to hang onto.
This would be a case of the rich getting richer at the expense of a small market team, but it is well past the time Toronto starting acting like the highly profitable big market team that it is.