Clippers nab veteran center Serge Ibaka on Day 2 of NBA free agency

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At the end of a quiet second day of NBA free agency, the Clippers made some noise.

That sound? Celebration. And maybe some relief.

Serge Ibaka agreed to a deal with the Clippers on Saturday evening, according to multiple reports. The 7-footer reportedly will sign for two years, $19 million, with a player option for the second season. That deal aligns with what Montrezl Harrell reportedly agreed to from the Lakers.

The Clippers reportedly competed for Ibaka with a pair of other determined suitors, in Brooklyn and Toronto, where he’d played the past three seasons. In L.A., he will play behind Ivica Zubac, filling the hole left by Harrell at backup center while also helping to replace some of the floor-stretching prowess lost with reserve forward JaMychal Green, who agreed Friday to a two-year, $15 million offer from the Nuggets.

And Ibaka will reunite with Kawhi Leonard, with whom he played when the Toronto Raptors won their first NBA championship in 2019.

The Clippers now have 11 guaranteed contracts and are $3.4 million below the hard cap — with a pair of non-guaranteed contracts (Joakim Noah’s $2.7 million deal and recently acquired Justin Patton’s for $1.8 million) that could help diminish the burden.

Ibaka, 31, will enter his 12th NBA campaign. He’s fresh off a season in which he averaged a career-best 15.4 points and 8.2 rebounds and shot 38.5 percent from deep on 3.3 attempts per game.

He also was big in the playoffs, when the second-seeded Raptors lost in the Eastern Conference semifinals in seven games to Boston. Ibaka averaged 14.8 points and 7.7 rebounds in the Orlando bubble, while making 51.1 percent of his 3s in the postseason.

Free agent Serge Ibaka plans to sign a 2-year, $19M deal with the Clippers, source tells ESPN.

— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) November 22, 2020

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Ibaka is signing a two-year deal with the Clippers, with a player option in second season, sources said. https://t.co/X7aoU8SF6i

— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) November 22, 2020

As free agents flew off the board Saturday, steadily stocking other teams’ rosters ahead of the fast-approaching Dec. 1 start of training camp, the Clippers remained characteristically mum. The only substantial hint of what they wanted to do with that came in the evening, when the New York Times’ veteran basketball writer Marc Stein tweeted what many Clippers fans already assumed: “The Clippers have joined the race for free-agent big men Serge Ibaka and Marc Gasol.

“Gasol,” Stein added, “is considered the more realistic target given the fierce competition for Ibaka headed by Toronto and Brooklyn.”

But Ibaka choose the Clippers, who reportedly are set to pay him the non-taxpayer mid-level exception ($9.3 million) this season. Considering that development, and the team’s agreements with starting forward Marcus Morris Sr. on a four-year, $64 million offer, and Patrick Patterson, another backup forward who will get a one-year, $2.3 deal — the Clippers still have their biannual exception ($3.6 million), trade exception ($3.6 million) and veteran’s minimum contracts to work with.

And they still have work to do.Related Articles

Source:: Los Angeles Daily News

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