Ibaka eyes another ring after joining Giannis' Bucks
The Clippers traded Serge Ibaka, who joins the Bucks where he could have the chance to win his second ring. Giannis' team lose Donte DiVincenzo.
Serge Ibaka is on the move. He was one of the Spanish players with clear options of being traded on deadline day and that's how it has turned out. The power forward, who has spent almost a year and a half with the Los Angeles Clippers, has joined defending champions the Bucks - favourites to win this year's title. The 32-year-old was involved in a four-way operation which involved the Clippers, Milwaukee, Pistons and Kings. Ibaka is in with a good chance of picking up a second ring, added to the one he won in 2019 with the Toronto Raptors.
Milwaukee, the perfect destination for Ibaka
Ibaka couldn't have landed in a much better place. He has been the subject of trade rumours since suffering a back injury towards the end of last season. A few months ago, he was averaging 11 points and 6 rebounds in 41 games - 39 of them in the starting line-up; but on 14 March 2021, he suffered an injury against the Pelicans. Ibaka pushed himself in a bid to get back in time for the playoffs, but he could offer little to Tyronn Lue's side, who made the Western Conference finals for the first time in their history. He returned to action late and lacking the explosiveness of before, niggling fitness issues and struggling to reproduce the kind of form that gained him incredible respect in the NBA. He was averaging 15.4 minutes - the least amount of playing time at any point in his career, his figures also dropped in terms of points (6.6) and rebounds (4.3). It became increasing clear that for Tyronn Lue, he had slipped further down the pecking order in a team struggling to deal with coronavirus and injuries.
However, Ibaka's figures have improved in recent games - in the last three, he has played 22, 33 and 18 minutes, and posted a double-double (14+11) in the Clippers' win over the Pacers as well as 20 points against the Lakers. At 32, Ibaka still has plenty to give, he is more experienced and his strong physical presence will help the Bucks defensively; this season he has been shooting almost 39% from the field, a similar rate to during his final months in Toronto (15.4 points and 8.2 rebounds) - he is exactly the kind of profile which the Bucks, who are still without Brook Lopez,were looking for.