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Deal of the Day: Can a Serge Ibaka sign-and-trade work for the Wizards?

Wizards go above the MLE to sign a top free agent target, in exchange for Ish Smith, Jerome Robinson and Moritz Wagner.

Washington Wizards v Toronto Raptors Photo by Ron Turenne/NBAE via Getty Images

Oh boy, always fun to voluntarily make life more difficult. That’s what The Deal does by including a sign and trade arrangement.

In today’s scenario, the Toronto Raptors sign and trade center/forward Serge Ibaka to a 3-year $36 million contract and guard Terence Davis to the Wizards for guard Ish Smith, guard Jerome Robinson, center Moritz Wagner and a future 2nd round pick.

As a math check, the Wizards receive $12 million in salary via Serge Ibaka’s new contract. Washington’s outgoing salary is $11.8 million, meaning this combination of players could be traded for up to $14mm if Ibaka (PPA 106) won’t accept $12mm. Terence Davis’ contract is guaranteed for the minimum so he can be traded. As a player making the minimum he does not count toward the total aggregate salary. He also fits into two of the available trade exceptions Washington has if the need arises. In this scenario it does not.

One more bookkeeping note. The Wizards would need to renounce at least C.J. Miles, if not Miles and Ian Mahinmi, so they are not over the tax at the time of the sign + trade. They want to be over the cap but below the tax to avoid being hard capped.

Why do the Raptors do the deal?

I’ve previously written about this is the Raptors’ offseason of transition. Marc Gasol is rumored to be headed to FC Barcelona’s basketball team. VanVleet is a UFA with suitors from Phoenix to Detroit to New York. Kyle Lowry has one year left until UFA. OG Anunoby will be eligible for an extension soon as well. All of it housekeeping to maintain that the ledger is tidy enough for Giannis in a year.

The Raptors do this deal for a few reasons. First there is no plan to add salary in the same year they’ll be chasing Giannis Antetokounmpo. They can offer Ibaka a one year deal but that’s probably it. If that year is closer to his 2020 salary then he could stay for it. At this stage of his career why should he think short term? Still, it may take a 4th year added to Wiz’ offer to clinch his signature.

This deal allows the Raptors to get something valuable back for Ibaka, be it a second ball handler or back up point guard, depending on how head coach Nick Nurse wants to use Ish. They get one year tryouts for former first round picks Robinson and Wagner.

There’s hope Robinson can continue his bubble bounce while working with Raptors staff, possibly giving them a shooting guard for life after Norman Powell. Same for Mo Wags finding his shooting stroke. No matter what, they can be free from salary in the year of Giannis or find a taker sooner. This deal ends up being the ‘thank you’ Toronto believes that Serge deserves.

Why do the Wizards do the deal?

They need to find an interior defensive presence this off season. One angle would have them using a portion of the MLE or the BAE on a center to back up Thomas Bryant for 20+ minutes a night. That’s the most likely scenario. Its lower cost and practical given the falling prices of centers.

In this one they go bigger, acquiring the veteran Ibaka for more than the MLE in the only way they can, sign and trade. They aren’t signing a slouch either. Ibaka put up a career-best 15.4 points with 38.6 percent 3-point shooting and 8 rebounds in 27 minutes per game. He blocks fewer shots than he used to but in exchange you get even more deep shooting.

Don’t take my word for it. Listen to current Wizards head coach Scott Brooks discuss Ibaka:

Oh right, The Deal almost forgot to mention the connection that could make this happen. Brooks was Ibaka’s first NBA head coach. Word on the grapevine is that there’s still respect and admiration on both sides.

Why go the expensive route if there are cheaper options for half the cost? Simply put, the signing of Ibaka would be a loud move in a potentially quiet NBA off season. It would reintroduce the Wizards as division and playoff contender in a way you can’t just by signing Aaron Baynes or Glenn Robinson III, no offense fellas.

Being loud just for the sake of loud isn’t enough. Loud is Serge Ibaka at less than he made in ‘19-20 while shooting well enough to play center and possibly some forward. If this was a discussion over flagrant fouls this would be the Wizards leaving no doubt as to whether there was “intent”.

We can’t go back and change Al Horford’s mind but this is close enough.

Adding Ibaka, even in a reserve role, reinvigorates the roster with contender quality ability and experience after the organization’s developmental year purge of ‘treadmill’ veterans. High character. High caliber shooting. Defensive presence. He’s the kind of signing that could help with secondary free agents as we ramp back up with Brad and John.

2nd Team All-Rookie team member Terence Davis is less than 3 months younger than Jerome Robinson despite their NBA experience disparity. He is why you throw in a future 2nd. Sign and trade can only occur after the league is open for business but are not allowed before the NBA Draft. I would deal #37 to them separately if I could.

Wizards would still have #9 (find a wing stopper), MLE (Justin Holiday) and the BAE although signing Ibaka and re-signing Bertans would put them up against the tax, possibly eliminating the option of the BAE.

After the move, here’s what the Wizards’ roster rotation could look like.

  • John Wall - Troy Brown Jr. - Shabazz Napier (UFA)
  • Bradley Beal - Terence Davis - Garrison Mathews (RFA)
  • ______________ - Isaac Bonga - Admiral Schofield
  • Rui Hachimura - Davis Bertans (UFA)
  • Thomas Bryant - Serge Ibaka - Anzejs Pasecniks (camp guarantee)


Should the Wizards Ish Smith, Moritz Wagner and Jerome Robinson for Serge Ibaka and Terence Davis from the Raptors?

This poll is closed

  • 74%
    Yes, it will take more than the MLE to get Ibaka.
    (146 votes)
  • 25%
    No, Ibaka isn’t right for this roster.
    (50 votes)
196 votes total Vote Now

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