Report | Serge Ibaka expected to stay with Raptors

(AP Photo/Morry Gash)
AP Photo/Morry Gash

The NBA calendar is more than a month away from free agency’s outset, but the Toronto Raptors may be off to a head start with one of the marquee players that could be on the market.

Serge Ibaka and his new team are believed to have a “basically done” deal for the forward to re-sign and stay in Canada. The agreement is believed to be worth around $20-million per year, according to Steve Kyler of BasketballInsiders.com.

Kyler reports that many in “NBA circles” believe Ibaka made it clear to the Magic the only team he wanted to be traded to was the Raptors. Now that his contract has expired, he looks like he wants to stay there. While Kyler cautions that another team coming in and blowing the 27-year-old Ibaka away with an offer that exceeds $20M per year is a possibility, it’s unlikely. The former key Thunder cog had a decent year with the Magic and Raptors but wasn’t exactly a difference maker. That said, last offseason saw numerous outlandish deals for players far less accomplished.

Ibaka’s knees could be cause for alarm long-term for the Raptors, per Kyler. Ibaka re-signing would prevent the Raptors from losing a top forward presence for the second straight year. Bismack Biyombo departed for an $18M-per-year deal from the Magic. Ibaka would vault into the top-10 highest-paid power forwards if he signs for at least $20M per year. Seven such players labeled 4’s make that annually.

The Raptors also have Kyle Lowry’s impending free agency to navigate. But despite the second-round sweep exit against the Cavaliers, it doesn’t look like Toronto will be starting a rebuild.

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