It probably wasn’t a coincidence Toronto, among the teams that could have used Ibaka for the stretch run, made Orlando the best offer.
Most in NBA circles believe that Ibaka made it clear to the Magic the only team he wanted to land with was Toronto, and it’s likely why other teams in the hunt for him passed on giving big assets.
League sources said that a new deal for Ibaka is basically done and that it will start in the $20 million range. It’s possible someone surfaces on July 1 with a better offer, but given Ibaka’s age and rocky season in Orlando, that seems unlikely.
Ibaka has shown signs of decline. The length of that contract will be critical.
A deal with such a high starting salary will also put the Raptors in luxury-tax territory if they also re-sign Kyle Lowry (which is in question). Raptors president Masai Ujiri said Ibaka is probably better now at center than power forward.
Trading Jonas Valanciunas could solve both issues, so he’ll be a player to watch this summer.