Is the Serge Ibaka trade as bad as it looks?


Right around the time the Orlando Magic traded Victor Oladipo for Serge Ibaka, Britain had decided (barely) to leave the EU. As a millennial living in the UK, I’m not entirely sure which affected me more. I loved Oladipo, and the trade looked bad from the outset. Really bad. As bad as Nigel Farage’s suits.

Barely half a season has passed and look where we are.

It’s not Ibaka’s fault. He was as expected. Not the same defensive he had been in his formative years in OKC, but a surprisingly effective and reliable mid-to-outside shooter. While he didn’t click with either Vucevic or Biyombo (RIP the Congo Line) as hoped, he still played well enough to give some sense to the Oladipo move.

The team as a whole, however, have not played well. And the Magic’s abysmal season has forced them into the drastic face-saving maneuver Adrian Wojatradeanowski so kindly bombed all over our faces yesterday.

Given the circumstances, it’s a good move.

Not in the sense that the Magic have turned Oladipo, the number 11 pick in last years draft (the promising Domantas Sabonis) and Ersan Ilyasova, the mightiest jaw in the land, into Terrence Ross and a late first round pick. But in the sense that they could have, just as easily, been left with nothing at all.

Ross should be a good fit for the Magic. Seeing as they aren’t going to win any games this season, it would be nice to stop running plays and just watch Aaron Gordon and T Ross go for 720 windmills over the other team. For next year, the former Toronto wing’s shooting should prove invaluable on a Magic roster with about as much range as Donald Trump’s cabinet. Do you get it? They’re all white. And men. And old. Hooray!

Ross is stroking 37.5% of his 5 three-pointers a game, enough to get Frank Vogel all teary eyed and emotional knowing he now has more than one reliable wing shooter. Otherwise known as the absolute, bottom of the barrel, bare minimum needed to score more than 10 points in an NBA game.

Elsewhere, this move should see Aaron Gordon hop skip and jump back into more playing time at his favored Power Forward spot, where he can just concentrate on slamming alley-oops in slow, big guy’s faces and not have to worry about those ridiculous fundamentals like dribbling and shooting.

The logic behind the moves that have led the Magic to this point seems incredibly muddled, but it is important to remember they were made with the albeit foolish optimism of a much better-performing team in mind. Ideally, Hennigan would have shown a bit more patience, resigning Oladipo to a big contract he desperately wanted to avoid giving him, shipped him out later, and kept Sabonis. Despite this, give him some credit for salvaging an undoubtedly bad situation given that the entire league knew there was no chance in hell Ibaka was staying in Orlando next year.

All that’s left to do now is to let Jeff Green walk and join the Jiangsu Tongxi Monkey King, play Mario Hezonja 48 minutes a night at point guard, because, at this point, why the hell not? Embrace the spirit of the tank more than Brad Pitt in Fury.  

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