It seemed pretty clear that Serge Ibaka’s immediate future lay in a ring candidate. It was missing to know which one and that question has been resolved. Why the Hispanic-Congolese will play for the Los Angeles Clippers for the next two seasons, the second of them with player option (it will only be executed if the player wants it), for a total of $ 19 million. Ibaka reunites with Kawhi Leonard, with whom he forged a good friendship in the race that led to the Toronto Raptors first ring in 2019.
Ibaka was one of the biggest pieces of this free agency. The player He is in the best moment of his career after averaging 15.4 points (personal best), 8.2 rebounds and 38.5% in triples. In addition, he had shown these last two seasons in the Raptors to be a player capable of performing at the best level in the playoffs. All this put him on the radar of several of the best teams in the league. Apart from the Raptors, who also tried to retain him, there was talk of the Lakers and, above all, the Nets. In the first hours of free agency, the reunion with Kevin Durant in Brooklyn was taken for granted after Ibaka’s brother responded in a comment on a social network that his destination was to be the Nets.
Finally, with whom he will see the faces again will be with Leonard and the Clippers, an obvious title contender who last year fell far short of expectations. First in the regular league, where despite finishing second, he never showed a game worthy of a champion team. And then in the playoffs, beating some very badly injured Mavs in the first round with more problems than desirable and falling in a thunderous way in the conference semifinals after losing 3-1 in favor against the Nueggets. As if this were not enough, In the opening hours of free agency they lost two of the most important pieces of their inside game: Montrez Harrell and JaMychal Green. And to top it all, they both went to their biggest conference rivals, the Lakers and the Nuggets, respectively.
So Ibaka’s signing has become strategic for the Angelina franchise, which threatened to fall short on the inside. Now, however, the tables have turned and it can be argued that they have a better player than either of the two who have left. In fact, In the United States there are already voices that point out this signing as the theft of the draft, because of the quality of the player, the need that his team covers and the money that they will pay, which will not reach 10 million per year. And we will see if there are two or only one, since the player option for the second season (2021-22) coincides in time with those of Kawhi Leonard and Paul GeorgeIf for next summer things still do not go well, they can choose not to renew and go on the market. So even in that hypothetical situation they half make sure that Ibaka would do the same and thus have more money to build a new team from scratch. At the moment, yes, the idea is to have him for two years, because if they have brought him, it is to help them win the first ring in their history.