Rap­tors get 'boost' ac­quir­ing Ibaka in deal with Magic

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Kyle Lowry said some­thing had to change in Toronto. Serge Ibaka is on his way to try to make that hap­pen.

The Rap­tors ac­quired the veteran power for­ward from Or­lando on Tues­day for Ter­rence Ross and a 2017 first round draft pick.

Or­lando gen­eral man­ager Rob Hen­ni­gan said Tues­day evening the trade of Ibaka for Ross was nec­es­sary for the Magic to have a chance of sal­vaging a sea­son that has gone dras­ti­cally off course.

The Rap­tors made the move with the post­sea­son and pos­si­ble cham­pi­onship run in mind.

"Any time you can add a tal­ent who has got play­off ex­pe­ri­ence, (NBA) Fi­nals ex­pe­ri­ence, and a de­fender and twoway player like Ibaka has got to give us a boost," Rap­tors coach Dwane Casey said Tues­day night in Chicago be­fore the Rap­tors-Bulls game. "Ibaka fills a huge need.

"His style of play fits our style of play . ... There's noth­ing we're do­ing that he hasn't seen be­fore. It won't take him long to pick up the term i n ol ogy."

Toronto started the day in fourth place in the Eastern Con­fer­ence, hav­ing lost 10 of its pre­vi­ous 14 games. The lat­est ugly per­for­mance came on Sun­day when the Rap­tors gave up a 16-point lead to start the fourth quar­ter and lost to the Detroit Pis­tons.

Af­ter the game, Lowry didn't pull any punches on the state of a team that made the Eastern Con­fer­ence fi­nals last sea­son but has lost to the Magic twice, the Pis­tons, Tim­ber­wolves and Suns dur­ing this lat­est sw oon.

"Keep get­ting in the same sit­u­a­tions over and over and not be­ing suc­cess­ful," Lowry said af­ter the 102-101 loss. "Some­thing's got to give, some­thing's got to change."

Casey has said all sea­son long that the some­thing is de­fense. Toronto ranks 17th in the NBA in de­fen­sive ef­fi­ciency, al­low­ing 106.2 points per 100 pos­ses­sions. The coach knows that won't be close to good enough when they get into the play­offs to try to build off of last year's run to the Eastern Con­fer­ence fi nal s.

"Like most play­ers, he has mi­grated out on the perime­ter, so his shot­block­ing and re­bound­ing (num­bers) are down a lit­tle bit," Casey said of Ibaka. "But there's a lot of dif­fer­ence po­si­tions he can play for us.

"He can play close to the bas­ket, be­cause he's smart and ver­sa­tile. There are sit­u­a­tions that he could pos­si­bly play the 5 for us if we do go small. He gives us a lot of flex­i­bil­ity."

Ibaka av­er­aged 15.1 points and 6.8 re­bounds for the Magic this sea­son. He has long been con­sid­ered a rugged de­fen­sive power for­ward, and has ex­pe­ri­ence mak­ing deep play­off runs with the Thun­der. He will be a free agent this sum­mer af­ter be­ing ac­quired from Ok­la­homa City on draft night last sum­mer for Vic­tor Oladipo, Er­san Ilyasova and the firstround draft pick that be­came Do­man­tas Saboni s.

Now Ibaka will slide be­tween DeMarre Car­roll and Jonas Valan­ci­u­nas in the Rap­tors front­court, a sig­nif­i­cant up­grade for Rap­tors GM Ma­sai Ujiri, who has long been a fan of Ibaka's de­fen­sive tenac­ity and abil­ity to stretch the floor on of­fense.

The Rap­tors parted with Ross, who is in the first year of a three-year, $31 mil­lion con­tract, and a pick to get the deal done. Ross av­er­aged 10.4 points and 2.6 re­bounds, but the high flier has never been able to pro­vide Toronto with the con­sis­tency they were look­ing for from him.

"I think if you watch our team play there is no se­cret that we strug­gle to make shots and I think his abil­ity can do just that," said Hen­ni­gan, who still be­lieves his team has a shot at mak­ing the Eastern Con­fer­ence play­offs de­spite a 21-36 record. Ross' "play, his age and his con­tract are all things we feel are pos­i­tives and strengths for us."

The Magic made the move in part to try to get some­thing back for Ibaka be­fore risk­ing los­ing him on the open mar­ket this sum­mer. Hen­ni­gan made the deal with OKC on draft night in hopes that Ibaka's de­fense and veteran lead­er­ship would help a team with a young core in­clud­ing Aaron Gor­don, Evan Fournier and El­frid Payt on.

But Or­lando cre­ated a log­jam in the front­court with Ibaka, Gor­don, Nikola Vuce­vic and Bis­mack Biy­ombo, and pieces just never fit to­gether. The Magic have the sec­ond-worst record in the East.

Rap­tors guard Nor­man Pow­ell, who is ex­pected to have an ex­panded role in Toronto with Ross' de­par­ture, said his for­mer team­mate is look­ing for­ward to his new role with the Magi c.

"I talked to (Ross) and he's ex­cited for the op­por­tu­nity he has" in Or­lando, Pow­ell said.

With Ross join­ing the team, the Magic can now shift Gor­don back to his more nat­u­ral power for­ward spot, leav­ing Evan Fournier and Ross to play the wing po­si­tions in coach Frank Vogel's scheme.

"I think we will cer­tainly look at that and try that, but that will be Frank's call ul­ti­mately," said Hen­ni­gan, who hopes Ross will be in uni­form Wed­nes­day night against the Spurs. "But it's some­thing that Frank and I have been dis­cussing and cer­tainly dis­cussed even more to­day."

(AP Photo/LM Otero)

Or­lando Magic for­ward Serge Ibaka (7) drib­bles against Dal­las Mav­er­icks for­ward Har­ri­son Barnes (40) dur­ing the sec­ond half of an NBA bas­ket­ball in Dal­las, Satur­day, Feb. 11, 2017.

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