Reaction to the Milwaukee Bucks surprisingly re-signing Serge Ibaka

MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN - MARCH 24 (Photo by John Fisher/Getty Images)
MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN - MARCH 24 (Photo by John Fisher/Getty Images) /

A large portion of the Milwaukee Bucks’ offseason moves thus far have revolved around retaining players from last season, which continued on Monday.

As first reported by The Athletic’s Shams Charania, the Bucks have agreed to a one-year deal with veteran center Serge Ibaka. With Ibaka set to return to Milwaukee for another go-round, the Bucks have now re-signed Bobby Portis, Jevon Carter, Wesley Matthews, and Ibaka, seemingly showing a desire to run it back with essentially the same roster next season with a few minor tweaks.

Reaction to the Milwaukee Bucks surprisingly re-signing Serge Ibaka

Unlike any of the other three key players that the Milwaukee Bucks have re-signed this offseason, bringing back Serge Ibaka is a rather surprising move. After Ibaka spent a significant portion of the 2022 postseason on the sidelines, it seemed apparent that he would explore other opportunities in free agency, as there were other teams that could have offered not just more playing time but also more money simultaneously. No one could have blamed him for seeking those things, which is why it was so shocking when the news initially came out that Ibaka was returning to Milwaukee.

For the Bucks, retaining Ibaka is a justifiable move. The team had its share of issues at the center position last season as starting center Brook Lopez appeared in just 13 regular season games due to abrupt back surgery. Thankfully, the Bucks had Bobby Portis to fill in momentarily, but they had some issues finding a suitable backup throughout the regular season, having cycled through some names like DeMarcus Cousins, Greg Monroe, and Luke Kornet before they eventually landing Ibaka in a trade deadline deal. Now, with Lopez healthy and Portis re-signing, Ibaka will provide quality insurance at the center position behind those two next season, as last season showed that there is certainly no such thing as too much depth at any position. It will also allow Bobby Portis to log more minutes at power forward behind Giannis Antetokounmpo.

In addition to being a useful player for depth, Ibaka showed during his brief time with the Bucks that he could still contribute when given the opportunity. In 19 regular season games, the center averaged seven points while shooting 51.9 percent from the floor and 35.1 percent from distance while also hauling in 5.3 rebounds per contest. As Milwaukee’s third-string center, those numbers are beyond serviceable. At 32-years-old, Ibaka still has plenty of fuel left in the tank, and he is still capable of giving the Bucks a two-way spark off the bench when called upon on any given night.

Given that this is likely a minimum contract, there is not much reason to hate this move financially either. The Bucks needed to add another big man behind Lopez and Portis for good measure, and a player like Ibaka was likely the best available and most affordable option out on the market. The center has experience in this system and with virtually everyone on the current roster, so keeping him around for cheap is justifiable for a team that is incredibly low on financial flexibility.

Next. NBA Trades: 5 eye-catching deals the Milwaukee Bucks should consider. dark

Stay tuned to see what other moves the Milwaukee Bucks may have in store this offseason.