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NBA Free Agency: Serge Ibaka signs with the Los Angeles Clippers for mid-level exception, bolsters their big man depth

Serge Ibaka signs with clippers

One of the crucial cogs in the Toronto Raptors’ 2019 NBA championship, Serge Ibaka has now signed with the Los Angeles Clippers. Following 3-and-a-half seasons with the Raptors in Canada, Ibaka is now right in the prime of his career.

Although well past his defensive prime, Ibaka still projects as a great shotblocking threat. With the addition of a sweet elbow jumper and a reliable 3-point shot, it was looking like the big man would command a much higher salary than the 2-year, $19 million deal he’s signed with the Clippers.

Serge Ibaka has a player option on his second year of the contract. He’s definitely going to turn it down if his performances improve the Clippers.

How does Serge Ibaka signing change the Clippers’ outlook for 2020-21 season?

Losing Montrezl Harrell to crosstown rival Lakers was a big snag in the Clippers’ free agency outlook. They also let a number of other big men walk to other teams – losing JaMychal Green to the Denver Nuggets must have hurt just as much.

However, Ibaka plugs all of those gaps by himself. He’s an instant upgrade over any defensive big men the Clippers had over the past season. While he isn’t the wrecking ball Harrell is offensively, he provides something of even greater value in the modern NBA – spacing.

With this signing, the new Clippers roster now has Luke Kennard in place of Landry Shamet. Kennard is a much more reliable shooter and a slightly better defender than Shamet. They’ve also re-signed Marcus Morris, albeit to a rather steep 4-year, $64 million contract.

Now, they’ll be looking to add a point guard to their ranks. With the amount they have left in the cap, their best option would be a sign-and-trade, in which case Lou Williams might be made available.

All in all, the Clippers look closer to contention this year than last, when there were a few glaring weaknesses across the roster. The likes of Paul George, Lou Williams and Ivica Zubac will hopefully have learnt from their mistakes in the 2020 playoffs.

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