Ibaka Headed to Toronto
On Tuesday Orlando Magic GM Rob Hennigan made the biggest waves so far around the NBA trade deadline when he sent Serge Ibaka to Toronto in exchange for Terrance Ross and a 1st round pick. In addition to receiving a new small forward in Ross, Orlando will get the lower of Toronto’s two 2017 1st round picks. The Raptors hold their own pick as well as the Clippers 1st round pick. The move instantly fortifies the Raptors for a run at the Cavs, and at the same time helps solve Orlando’s logjam of post players. Another advantage of this trade is that it now allows Aaron Gordon to move back to the power forward position.
Really the one big concern about this trade is that the Magic essentially swapped Victor Oladipo, Domantas Sabonis, and Ersan Ilyasova for Terrance Ross and a first round pick. That is quite a lot to give up but at the same time there was no guarantee that Ibaka was going to return at the end of the season. He was almost certain to leave in free agency this summer.
Going forward, the Magic have acquired athletic small forward in Ross who can score in bunches. He will also give Orlando a boost in floor spacing with his 3-point shooting. It will also be interesting to see how head coach Frank Vogel juggles the lineup with Ross. Will Mario Hezonja start to lose minutes to Ross, or will the Magic just open the door and see what they have in their 2nd year player. My guess is that Ross will get the bulk of the minutes but that could easily change as the season winds down.
Now that the first domino has fallen, Magic fans can only wonder if this was the first of many moves. Another likely player to be moved is Jeff Green. He clearly is not in the team’s long term future, and would save the Magic a big chunk of change. With the trade deadline on February 23rd, it will be exciting to see what other moves the Magic will make.