The Magic acquired Ibaka from the Oklahoma City Thunder in exchange for guard Victor Oladipo on draft night last June. The Miami Heat are one of the three teams interested in Ibaka. The other two teams are the Toronto Raptors and the Houston Rockets. The Magic were expecting Ibaka to have a veteran impact on their young roster. They thought that it would put them in the playoff picture.
Unfortunately for Orlando, that assumption did not go as planned. They are currently 13th in the Eastern Conference, and are five games back from the eighth spot. Instead of playing in late April, they’ll be watching from their couches.
The red hot Miami Heat are interested interested in trading for Serge Ibaka, according to the Miami Herald.
— Legion Hoops (@LegionHoops) February 9, 2017
In the past month the Heat really shocking most NBA fans this season. They do not have the man who was once the entire face of the franchise, Dwayne Wade, who left in free agency to the Chicago Bulls. Their starting lineup consists of Goran Dragic, Dion Waiters, Rodney McGruder, Luke Babbitt and Hassan Whiteside. They started the season 11-30, and now have the longest winning streak in the NBA with 13, with a record of 24-30. They’re just one game back from the Detroit Pistons who are the eight seed.
The Heat could really use Ibaka since Babbitt is a small-forward playing as the power-forward. Imagine Whiteside and Ibaka playing together. No one would ever want to enter the paint against them. The Heat are still in the rebuilding phase, so having an eight-year experienced player could really help mentor their youth.
Serge has been great this season, putting up a career high in points with 15.2 a game. He has also averaged 6.9 rebounds, 1.6 blocks, and is shooting 48 percent from the field. Ibaka could help out Miami’s offense and defense as well. Miami has the assets to make this trade. February 23rd could be an interesting day for Miami and Orlando fans.
The following from Inquisiter.com
Ibaka said this about all of the trade rumors:
“I don’t want to think about that: the trade deadline. My focus is to play basketball right now. I don’t want to talk about that. I don’t want to think about it. I just focus on playing basketball. At the end, we’ll see what happens.”
Ibaka only has one more year left on his contract, so that may scare some teams away, which will make it harder to deal him. Ibaka has been one of if not the best shot-blockers in the league, since he was drafted. He is still 27, so he is in the prime of his career. Damage can still be done on both ends of the floor.