Magic deal Serge Ibaka to Raptors for Terrence Ross, first-round pick
The Raptors acquired the veteran power forward from Orlando on Tuesday for Terrence Ross and a 2017 first-round draft pick.
The Raptors started the day in fourth place in the Eastern Conference, having lost 10 of their previous 14 games. The latest ugly performance came on Sunday when the Raptors gave up a 16-point lead to start the fourth quarter and lost to the Detroit Pistons.
After the game, the Raptors' All-Star point guard didn't pull any punches on the state of a team that made the Eastern Conference finals last season but has lost to the Magic twice, the Pistons, Timberwolves and Suns during this latest swoon.
"Keep getting in the same situations over and over and not being successful,'' Lowry said after the 102-101 loss. "Something's got to give, something's got to change.''
Lowry felt better after news of Tuesday's trade broke.
"I think he's a great addition," he said of Ibaka. "I think he's a great addition to any team and especially to ours where we can add some shot blocking. Some outside shooting, some inside toughness, some athleticism running up and down the floor. I think he's gonna be a guy that can take some pressure off of me and DeMar [DeRozan]."
"He's definitely one of a kind," the All-Star said. "When it comes to rim protection, being able to score in the post, and also space the floor as well. It sucks to see T [Ross] go, but now we got to make this new adjustment with a great new addition."
Ibaka joined the Magic during the offseason when he was traded from the Thunder for Victor Oladipo and No. 11 pick Domantas Sabonis.
Orlando had felt in recent weeks that Ibaka might leave in free agency this summer. Without assurances he would stay, the Magic weighed offers from several teams, including the Raptors and Heat, before agreeing to the trade.
Toronto is confident it can re-sign him this summer, a source told ESPN's Ramona Shelburne.
A source close to Ibaka told Shelburne that he had begun to have misgivings about the way he was being used by Magic coach Frank Vogel and the long-term direction of the franchise amid growing uncertainty over general manager Rob Hennigan's future.
Raptors coach Dwane Casey, meanwhile has said all season long that the something is defense. Toronto ranks 17th in the NBA in defensive efficiency, allowing 106.2 points per 100 possessions. Casey knows that won't be close to good enough when they get into the playoffs to try to build off of last year's run to the Eastern Conference finals.
"Until we start collectively doing our job on each possession instead of saying, 'My bad,''' Casey said after the Raptors shot 53 percent and lost to the Timberwolves last week. "'My bads' get you beat. That's kind of what we're adding up right now. We've got to have seven, eight guys. If we can't play nine, we can't play nine. But seven or eight guys are going to play hard together.''
Ibaka averaged 15.1 points and 6.8 rebounds for the Magic this season. He has long been considered a rugged defensive power forward, and his experience making deep playoff runs with the Thunder should be a tremendous asset to the Raptors.
Ibaka will slide between DeMarre Carroll and Jonas Valanciunas in the Raptors frontcourt, a significant upgrade for Raptors president Masai Ujiri, who has long been a fan of Ibaka's defensive tenacity and ability to stretch the floor on offense.
"Our organization is excited to add a player of this caliber to our team as we strive to reach the next level,"Ujiri said in a statement. "Serge Ibaka brings valuable postseason experience and elevates our talent level in many different areas.
"We thank Terrence for his dedication and service to the Raptors organization. He is a wonderful young man who has helped our team grow the last few seasons."
The Raptors parted with Ross, who is in the first year of a three-year, $31 million contract, and a pick to get the deal done. Ross averaged 10.4 points and 2.6 rebounds, but the high flier has never been able to provide Toronto with the consistency they were looking for from him.
Yahoo! Sports first reported the agreement.
The Magic made the move in part to try to get something back for Ibaka before risking losing him on the open market this summer. General manager Rob Hennigan made the deal with OKC on draft night in hopes that Ibaka's defense and veteran leadership would help a team with a young core including Aaron Gordon, Evan Fournier and Elfrid Payton.
But Orlando created a logjam in the frontcourt with Ibaka, Gordon, Nikola Vucevic and Bismack Biyombo, and pieces just never fit together.
"In welcoming Terrence to the Magic family, we have addressed a need by adding athleticism, shooting and scoring ability to our developing, young core, while also making our roster more versatile,'' Hennigan said in a statement. "We thank Serge for his contributions and professionalism, and certainly wish him well.''
ESPN's Nick Friedell contributed to this report.