Veteran big man Serge Ibaka is set to leave the Milwaukee Bucks before the NBA trade deadline closes. According to The Athletic’s Shams Charania, the two sides have agreed to explore trade options and find Ibaka a new team in the coming weeks.
The news comes after Ibaka spent the past two weeks away from the team due to “personal reasons.” The 33-year-old player last played against the Washington Wizards in early January, spending 16 minutes on the floor and contributing with four points, two rebounds, two steals, and a block.
Ibaka arrived in Milwaukee midway through the 2021-22 NBA season in a trade from the Los Angeles Clippers. He ended up playing 19 games with the Bucks, averaging a solid 7.0 points and 5.3 rebounds off the bench. This was enough for the franchise to give him Ibaka a new one-year contract despite him playing a limited role in the playoffs.
This season, however, the Bucks’ head coach Mike Budenholzer didn’t trust Serge Ibaka a lot. He preferred splitting minutes between Brook Lopez and Bobby Portis, causing Ibaka to be on the court for only 16 games and averaging 11.6 minutes per contest.
It’s unclear what kind of market Ibaka has at this point of his career, but it wouldn’t be surprising to see a team sending a second-round pick or another out-of-need veteran to acquire him. With his veteran experience and defensive prowess, Ibaka could likely still make an impact on a playoff contender.