AGE: 26 SIZE: 6-foot-10, 245 pounds
LAST YEAR’S STATS: 12.6 points; 6.8 rebounds; .8 assists; 1.9 blocks
REMAINING CONTRACT: 1 year, $12.3 million
Personally, Serge Ibaka is the guy I want in Denver. He’s exactly what the Nuggets need: an athletic stretch four that can protect the rim.
The only issue is that he’s heading into a contract year, and that’s not the type of player you want to be trading for when you live in a small market like Denver.
At face value, Ibaka would be able to slot next to Nikola Jokic at the four and immediately improve the Nuggets defense, all while giving Denver the type of spacing they’ve never imagined with Kenneth Faried on the floor. Not to mention, the pick and roll with Emmanuel Mudiay and Ibaka could be just as deadly as the Mudiay-Faried pick and roll was towards the end of the season.
And you can’t underrate his experience, either.
For the Thunder, it makes sense, too. They can’t use Ibaka. He’s seen his points, rebounds and blocks all take dramatic dips over the last three seasons, and it’s not because he’s lost his ability; it’s because, like Love, they can’t use him to his fullest capabilities. Like Love, they’ve turned him into a spot-up shooter.
If they can turn Ibaka into two or three solid role players that fit better in the Thunder’s Westbrook-Durant offense, it makes sense, especially when they have to know that Ibaka is likely to leave in free agency next offseason.
For the Nuggets, they just have to have a strong belief that they can be successful enough in Ibaka’s first season that he’ll be willing to sign a long-term extension in the offseason. If not, it would be a complete waste.
What would it take?: The 7th pick and …