Serge Ibaka to sign with Clippers?


The Clippers will sign free-agent big man Serge Ibakatweets Shams Charania of The Athletic.

Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN reports (via Twitter) that Ibaka will receive $19 million over two years on his new deal, signaling that Los Angeles will use its full mid-level exception to complete the signing. Charania adds (via Twitter) that the contract will feature a second-year player option.

The deal represents a major coup for the Clippers, who lost Montrezl Harrell to the rival Lakers early in free agency and saw JaMychal Green leave for a deal in Denver. Ibaka, who can play either the four or five, will help replenish the Clippers’ frontcourt depth, giving L.A. a big man who can knock down outside shots on offense and protect the rim on defense.

Ibaka, who started his career in Oklahoma City and had a brief stint in Orlando during the 2016-17 season, has spent the last three-and-half seasons in Toronto, winning a title with the Raptors (with Kawhi Leonard) in 2019. This past season, he averaged 15.4 PPG, 8.2 RPG and 1.4 APG with an impressive .512/.385/.718 shooting line in 55 games (27.0 MPG).

By committing their full mid-level exception to Ibaka, the Clippers will hard-cap themselves for the 2020-21 league year and they don’t have a whole lot of wiggle room below the $138.93 million apron. However, as ESPN’s Bobby Marks observes (via Twitter), Los Angeles can create a little extra breathing room by waiving non-guaranteed contracts for Joakim Noah and Justin Patton. Bringing back Noah on a new one-year, minimum-salary deal would cost the Clippers about $1 million less than his current deal.

The Raptors, one of the many teams that made an effort to sign Ibaka, were believed to be averse to offering multiyear money since it would compromise their cap room for the summer of 2021. However, Michael Grange of and Josh Lewenberg of (Twitter links) both think Toronto would’ve offered the big man at least $15 million-plus for 2020-21, making it a bit of a surprise that the 31-year-old would choose a mid-level offer.

Having lost one of their two centers, the Raptors are working to convince the other one – Marc Gasol – to sign a new deal with the club, reports Wojnarowski (Twitter link).