Report: Heat, Raptors ‘have expressed interest’ in Serge Ibaka

By Jesse Reed

The Serge Ibaka trade rumors aren’t going away, folks. If anything, they’re only going to continue heating up until the February 23 trade deadline.

The latest news on this front comes to us by way of ESPN’s Marc Stein, who reports there are two Eastern Conference teams looking at potentially landing Ibaka in a trade before the deadline.

“Sources say that Toronto and Miami are among the Eastern Conference teams that have expressed interest in Ibaka this month,” Stein writes. “More than one rival club has expressed the belief that Orlando will use the next 10 days before the deadline to keep fielding offers and then, ultimately, choose the best available package for Ibaka on Feb. 23 and make the move.”

Another team reportedly in the mix is the Houston Rockets, who would love to add a big man who can not only protect the rim but who can shoot from the perimeter as well (more on that here).

Clearly, the Magic are interested in selling, and who can blame them? With a record of 20-36 they are not going to be a factor in the playoffs, and the franchise has plenty of work to compete at the highest level. With that in mind, landing valuable draft picks should be the ultimate goal in Orlando, and Ibaka’s value is still high for teams that will be competing in the postseason.

We saw what the Portland Trail Blazers were able to land in the trade that sent Mason Plumlee to the Denver Nuggets (details here). The Magic could certainly land much more than that for a proven player like Ibaka, who also has valuable playoff experience due to his time spent in Oklahoma City.