Toronto Raptors acquire Serge Ibaka in exchange for Terrence Ross
Serge Ibaka in action for the Orlando Magic. | USA TODAY Sports

Toronto Raptors acquire Serge Ibaka in exchange for Terrence Ross

A first-round pick from the Toronto Raptors will also be sent to the Orlando Magic in the upcoming draft.

chris-hughes
Chris Hughes

The Toronto Raptors have acted swiftly before the NBA's trade deadline, acquiring Serge Ibaka from the Orlando Magic in a shrewd deal.

Their own forward Terrence Ross will head south as part of the deal, in addition to one of Toronto's two first-round draft picks for this summer. They acquired their second from the Los Angeles Clippers.

Ibaka, 27, played for the Magic for just six short months, making a total of 56 appearances and averaging 15.1 points per game in the process.

He leaves Orlando after the side suffered a torrid run of three wins from ten games, with the Magic sitting only above the Brooklyn Nets as they find themselves 14th in the Eastern Conference.

The 26-year-old Ross, however, has averaged 10.4 points and 2.8 rebounds for the campaign, boasting a 14.91 player efficiency rating in the process.

The forward's first game in a Magic jersey will be no easy test, with Orlando hosting the San Antonio Spurs tomorrow.

Ibaka will not feature against the Chicago Bulls tonight per ESPN, but could make his Raptors debut tomorrow in an all-Eastern Conference affair against the Charlotte Hornets.

Making a Statement

Serge Ibaka (9) spent seven years with the Oklahoma City Thunder. | Getty Images

The Toronto Raptors have shown their intent and ambition with the acquisition of Ibaka, who boasts some serious playoff experience thanks to his time with the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Most importantly, Ibaka joins just hours after the confirmation that Kevin Love of the Cleveland Cavaliers could miss upwards of three months with injury.

Whilst Toronto may sit fifth in the East, they're just five wins behind the conference-topping Cavaliers, with the Raptors having already matched up against many of their long-distance Western Conference rivals.

The Boston Celtics and the reigning champions still have to clock up some serious mileage before season's end, whereas Toronto have just three games against western opposition in the next month.

What's more, the Raptors will still get a pick in the 2017 NBA draft, having acquired an extra pick from the Clippers.

Ibaka boasts a career average of around 12 points per game, despite playing in the same starting five as All-Stars Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant for many years.

The power forward's current deal expires in the summer, however, the previous Eastern Conference finalists have reportedly already expressed a desire to sign him on beyond the end of the season.

An Unusual Bit of Business

Terrence Ross dunking against the Washington Wizards. | USA TODAY Sports

With Ibaka having originally been acquired for Victor Oladipo, Ersan Ilyasova and the draft rights to the young Domantas Sabonis, it leaves the Magic in an unusual situation.

It means that in reality, the franchise has Ross and a draft pick as a result of all that trading, with Oladipo, Ibaka and Ilyasova all averaging more points per game that the guard-turned-forward this campaign.

Orlando may have given up the shot-blocking power forward over worries of his looming free agency, something which was reportedly behind their decision to trade the aforementioned Oladipo last summer.

Regardless, the trade does seem heavily in favor of the Raptors, with Ibaka having averaged 17.9 points and 7.1 boards in Orlando victories so far this season.

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