Does Serge Make Toronto Contenders in the East?

Kyle Lowry Serge Ibaka FTR.jpg

Kyle Lowry, Serge Ibaka

Orlando's GM Rob Hennigan needed a pick as a face-saver after his freakish decisions in the off-season to trade for Ibaka and sign Bismack Biyombo.

Ibaka also brings playoff experience from his tenure with the Oklahoma City Thunder along with the ability to play second fiddle to superstars, Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan. They have lost 10 of their last 14 games, largely thanks to the fact they've only had one reliable power forward, Patrick Patterson, and he has been injured lately.

Head coach Tyronn Lue said Channing Frey will replace Love in the starting lineup tonight when Cleveland takes on Love's old team, the Minnesota Timberwolves. Plus, he's actually shooting better from 3 this season than Ross - a career high 38% on 3.8 attempts per game.

Ibaka didn't get much of a chance to get acclimated to Toronto. It is certainly a very poor move on paper and will likely make Orlando fans cringe for years to come.

Ibaka, who was acquired by the Magic in an offseason trade for Victor Oladipo, is in the final year of his contract.

The Raptors are one of the sure contenders to the playoffs in the Eastern Conference as they are now positioned at the 5th spot in the division's standing. If one or the other had to go, Ross was the one that made more sense.

Ross is in the first year of a year of a three-year $31 million dollar extension he signed last season. The Raptors gave up Terrence Ross and a first-round pick in the 2017 draft in exchange for the pivotal big man. While he's not the dominant shot blocker he was with Oklahoma City in previous seasons, Ibaka's still an excellent two-way player, capable of extending the floor. Toronto also attached a 1st round pick to the deal, but their pick likely won't be extremely valuable as it is likely to fall in the 20's in the draft order.

Looking at Tuesday's trade with the Toronto Raptors in the vacuum of present day, it's not completely very bad for the Magic.

But Orlando created a logjam in the frontcourt with Ibaka, Gordon, Nikola Vucevic and Bismack Biyombo, and pieces just never fit together.

In early February, the Portland Trail Blazers swapped centers with the eighth-seeded Denver Nuggets in what seems like a concession in the West's playoff chase. With Ibaka, the Raptors have a capable shot blocker on defense and a reliable stretch four on offence.

We're just getting started on how this deal affects our favourite floundering basketball team.

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