After stints in Toronto and Los Angeles, 3x All-Defensive player Serge Ibaka was traded to the Milwaukee Bucks, where he will join Giannis Antetokounmpo in a talented frontcourt lineup.
In his first public statement since the trade, Ibaka expressed admiration and excitement about the newest chapter of his career.
“New Bucks big man Serge Ibaka said knew he was going to get traded, and when he heard it was Milwaukee that made the deal? “Like, yeah, I’m going to play with the champs. When I heard it was the Bucks, I was excited.”
The Ibaka move was lost in the shadow of the James Harden trade, but it could have big implications on the Eastern Conference playoffs.
After their title win in 2021, the Bucks became the team to beat in the NBA. This season, at 35-22, they appear to be headed for another long playoff run and Ibaka could help them get further.
The Bucks are also among several teams who could pursue Goran Dragic when he becomes available.
The San Antonio Spurs and Goran Dragic are expected to negotiate a contract buyout in the coming week, clearing the way for a formidable list of free agent suitors for Dragic that now include the Los Angeles Lakers and Golden State Warriors, sources told ESPN.
The Lakers and Warriors are planning to join several rivals, including the LA Clippers, Milwaukee Bucks, Chicago Bulls and Brooklyn Nets, in aggressive pursuit of Dragic, sources said.
Dragic is emerging as the top player on the buyout market with contending teams confident that he has stayed in excellent condition working out in South Florida and can contribute in short order on a new team.
The Spurs traded for Dragic on Thursday, acquiring a protected 2022 first-round pick in the deal.
At 32-years-old, Ibaka is out of his prime and no longer the dominant force he was back in OKC. Still, he brings size and rim protection to a team that desperately needed a bit of both.
With the postseason around the corner, it will be interesting to see what Milwaukee is able to do and whether or not they'll be able to defend their crown and claim their second-straight Championship.