It is inevitable that Serge Ibaka will be playing on a team not named the Milwaukee Bucks within the next few weeks.
As first reported by The Athletic’s Shams Charania, Ibaka and the Bucks have agreed to find the veteran a new home before the trade deadline. While Ibaka has not played a significant amount with the Bucks this season, there were bound to be some teams interested in the center, as the former NBA champion is still capable of providing some added defense at the center position for teams looking to shore up their frontcourt.
With the deadline nearing, several teams have reportedly taken an interest in Ibaka. According to HoopsHype’s Michael Scotto, the Brooklyn Nets, Miami Heat, and Atlanta Hawks are keeping an eye on the situation. Sam Amico of Hoops Wire reported that the LA Clippers have expressed an interest, as well as the Washington Wizards. Ibaka has no shortage of potential suitors lining up to pursue his services.
5 trade suitors have emerged for Bucks’ disgruntled center Serge Ibaka
In all likelihood, any trade the Bucks make involving Ibaka will involve a larger package. Given the veteran’s minimum salary, the Bucks would not be able to fetch more than a second round pick in exchange for Ibaka in any standalone trades. All of these rumored teams have interesting players that could make sense, but the likeliest scenario here is the Bucks moving Ibaka elsewhere in a three-team trade for Jae Crowder, a target they have had a burning interest in for months.
Despite their best efforts, the Bucks have not been able to pry Crowder away from the Suns, who are seemingly holding out to make a move until the deadline. The Bucks do not have the strongest assets in a trade for Crowder, so getting another team involved to give up some assets would help. Perhaps the Wizards will look to make more moves after trading Rui Hachimura to Los Angeles recently. With one big man out the door, perhaps they could look to add another, hence their rumored interest in Ibaka. The Crowder theory is just speculation, but it would make sense for the Bucks, who seem intent on adding the veteran power forward in the next few weeks.
It should be noted that Ibaka has to consent to any trade involving him due to salary obligations, but that should not be a problem if his potential destination offers adequate playing time.
More rumors around bound to start flooding in moving forward, and it will be interesting to see what the Bucks can get out of this entire situation.
Stay tuned to see what transpires between Ibaka and the Bucks in the next few weeks leading up to the trade deadline on February 9.