Ranking the Milwaukee Bucks’ moves from the 2022 NBA offseason

MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN - JANUARY 15: (Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images)
MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN - JANUARY 15: (Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images) /
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Milwaukee Bucks: Serge Ibaka
MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN – FEBRUARY 14 (Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images) /

Ranking the Milwaukee Bucks’ offseason moves – 8. Re-signing Serge Ibaka to a one-year deal in NBA Free Agency

Re-signing Serge Ibaka to a one-year deal may have been one of the most surprising moves of the offseason for the Milwaukee Bucks. After he scarcely played down the stretch of last season and had a nonexistent role in the playoffs, it seemed likely that Ibaka would take his talents elsewhere to find a more prominent role and net himself some more money. However, in quite the plot twist, he opted to return to Milwaukee for another go-round.

Though it may seem head-scratching to retain a player that was primarily glued to the bench for a good chunk of the last month of the season, bringing back Ibaka does make sense. The Bucks were in the market for a backup big man behind Brook Lopez and Bobby Portis for depth purposes, as last season highlighted how important that could be. With Lopez sidelined for most of the season due to an abrupt back procedure, the Bucks were scrambling to find depth at the center position during the regular season. Now, they will have an insurance policy in Ibaka from day one of this season if an unforeseen issue were to happen.

On the court, Ibaka can still help the Bucks if he receives playing time. Defensively, he can provide more interior protection and fit like a glove in coach Mike Budenholzer’s drop coverage scheme on a nightly basis. Offensively, the 6-foot-10 Ibaka can step behind the 3-point line and knock down his shots which some consistency, which is always a plus in this Milwaukee offense. In addition to those qualities, he is a strong rebounder and will provide more toughness.

Ibaka can also have an impact on managing how many minutes Giannis Antetokounmpo has to play at center, with another big body Giannis can save some of the banging around with players like Andre Drummond and Al Horford.

Even if Ibaka will not have a clear-cut role on opening night this season, bringing him back is a fine move by the Bucks to add an insurance policy at the center position at the bare minimum.