It’s about that time of they year when contenders are figuring out how to set themselves up for a successful second half of the season. The Milwaukee Bucks are getting in that spirit, as they intend to trade veteran center Serge Ibaka ahead of the deadline, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic and Stadium.
The Bucks and Ibaka have mutually agreed to seek a new destination for the former NBA champion, with the latter having a very diminished role so far this season. Ibaka has played in only three of the Bucks’ last 30 games, and he has recently missed action due to a personal issue. It is likely the next time the big man steps on court he will be donning a new uniform.
When he has suited up, Ibaka has struggled to get in games in part because of the strong play of Brook Lopez, who has put himself in the Defensive Player of the Year conversation. Lopez is logging his most minutes (30.5 per game) since the 2013-14 season. There is simply not a big role to be had for the man heralded as “I-block-a!”
Still, there are bound to be teams interested in the defensive services of the 33-year-old veteran. Serge Ibaka has been NBA All-Defensive First Team three times over the course of his 14-year career and was a key member of the Toronto Raptors’ supporting cast when they won their first championship in franchise history in 2019. He had 15 points in the the title-clincher.
Ibaka’s production has fallen quite a bit in just a couple seasons, so a change of scenery could be beneficial. The Milwaukee Bucks are unlikely to waste the roster spot and could be shopping for a role player who fills a bigger need for them as they continue their chase in the East.