Reviewing the Milwaukee Bucks’ trade for Serge Ibaka over a month later

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - MARCH 19 (Photo by David Berding/Getty Images)
MINNEAPOLIS, MN - MARCH 19 (Photo by David Berding/Getty Images) /

It was certainly a surprise when the Milwaukee Bucks were involved in a mega-four-team deal for Serge Ibaka on the day of the 2022 NBA Trade Deadline. The February 10th trade had no shortage of moving parts, with the Bucks, LA Clippers, Sacramento Kings, and Detroit Pistons sending out a vast assortment of players or draft picks elsewhere.

Now, with just a little over a month passing since the trade happened, everyone has a better idea of just how well the pieces involved fit with their respective teams. With that said, let us look back on the trade by assessing how everything looks on Milwaukee’s end over one month later.

Reviewing the Milwaukee Bucks’ trade for Serge Ibaka one month later

Milwaukee’s trade for Ibaka was entirely justifiable due to the team’s need for center depth in the absence of Brook Lopez. Though Lopez has since returned to the lineup, Ibaka has remained in the rotation and continues to play a key role nightly. In addition to bringing added depth at the position as Milwaukee eases Lopez back into the swing of things, Ibaka has been a solid contributor in his tenure with the Bucks, providing scoring, rebounding, defense, and toughness off the bench.

Excluding a recent 1-of-11 shooting game versus the Minnesota Timberwolves, Ibaka has played incredibly well with the Bucks in his 14 appearances thus far. The veteran center is now averaging 6.7 points and 5.4 rebounds in 18.6 minutes per game, giving Milwaukee quality minutes when he hits the court. While some will question why the Bucks ultimately traded for Ibaka when they were always under the impression that Lopez would return this year, bringing him aboard was still the right decision. The biggest knock on Ibaka is that he has hit just 9-of-29 (31 percent) from 3-point land since joining Milwaukee. If he can find a groove from the outside, this will look even better for the Bucks down the line.

Still, that goes without mentioning the two second round picks or the cash considerations that the Bucks also received alongside Ibaka. Only time will tell how those are utilized down the road, but it was always an added bonus to stock up on some assets alongside Ibaka in the trade.

As for what the Bucks traded in this four-team deal, they dealt Rodney Hood and Semi Ojeleye to the Clippers and Donte DiVincenzo to the Kings. Hood and Ojeleye had both been booted from the Bucks’ rotation prior to the trade, and their playing time has been scarce in Los Angeles since they touched down in The City of Angels. The pair struggled to find their footing in Milwaukee from the moment they came aboard, so moving them was justified, especially if it meant adding a player of Ibaka’s caliber in return.

Elsewhere, some Bucks fans were skeptical of the team’s decision to trade DiVincenzo the Kings, as the young guard was a quality piece off the bench. However, given Milwaukee’s need for more center depth and an inevitable payday coming for DiVincenzo after the season, dealing him made sense. The change of scenery has seemingly been just what DiVincenzo needed, as he has played some of the best basketball of his career in Sacramento. Of course, this included a recent 19 point game against the Bucks. It looks like DiVincenzo may have found himself a long-term home with a young Kings team, and while some fans might be bitter about seeing the guard succeed on a new team, this deal was best for both parties involved.

Overall, the Milwaukee Bucks’ trade for Ibaka still looks stellar over a month later. The center has plugged several holes on this roster and has proven himself to be an impactful rotational player in his first 14 appearances. While there is still plenty of work to be done down the final stretch of the regular season and into the playoffs, the Bucks appear to be the biggest winners in this deal at the time of this writing.

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Stay tuned to find out how Serge Ibaka’s tenure with the Milwaukee Bucks continues to unfold as the defending champions prepare to defend their NBA title.