The Toronto Raptors have made the first major trade of the NBA season by sending Terrence Ross and a 1st round pick to the Orlando magic in exchange for Serge Ibaka. The Raptors should like this move short and long term.
Toronto went 56-26 last season and finished a game behind the Cleveland Cavaliers in the Eastern Conference. They lost to the Cavs in the Eastern Conference Finals. This season they’re sitting in 5th place heading into the All-Star break, trailing the Cavs, Celtics, Wizards and Hawks.
Ross, who was in his 5th season with the Raptors, was averaging his usual 10 points, 2 rebounds and 2 assists. Ibaka, 27, was averaging 15.1 points, 6.8 rebounds and 1.6 blocks in Orlando. Ibaka can fill the void left by Bismack Biyombo who also signed with Orlando last summer. Plus, he’s actually shooting better from 3 this season than Ross – a career high 38% on 3.8 attempts per game.
Ibaka will also be a free agent after this season and acquiring him gives Toronto his Bird rights and the ability to exceed the salary cap to keep him this summer. It also seems that the Raptors may believe the Eastern Conference is wide-open now that Kevin Love is hurt.