After standing pat at the trade deadline last year, the Toronto Raptors rode their roster all the way to the Eastern Conference finals. They took LeBron James and the eventual champion Cavaliers to six games before bowing out, finishing what was easily their best season in franchise history.
In a weakened Eastern Conference, the Raptors were expected to again challenge the Cavs for the top spot this year. Early in the season, everything was going according to plan. More recently though, the wheels have been falling off. They have dropped all the way to fifth in the East, falling behind the Hawks, Wizards, and the Celtics. All-Star point guard Kyle Lowry even declared earlier this week that he was “worried” about the team’s direction and felt that something needed to change, although he declined to give any further details.
Well, for better or worse, the Raptors changed something today.
According to Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical, the Raps are sending small forward Terrence Ross and a 2017 first round pick to the Orlando Magic in exchange for power forward Serge Ibaka.
Orlando has agreed to trade Serge Ibaka to Toronto for Terrence Ross and a 2017 first-round pick, league sources tell @TheVertical.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojVerticalNBA) February 14, 2017
The Raptors own two first round picks in the 2017 draft — their own, and the Clippers’. The Magic will get whichever pick ends up being lower. Ibaka is a free agent this summer, so his time in Toronto could be short. On the other hand, by acquiring his Bird rights, the Raptors will be able to offer him a sizable contract in the off-season. Ibaka could be enticed by the idea of forming a big three with Lowry and young superstar DeMar DeRozen.