Raptors Not Sold On Ibaka/Valanciunas Pairing

Neither Jonas Valanciunas nor Serge Ibaka came off the bench for the Raptors once during the 2017/18 season, with Ibaka serving as the club’s full-time starting four while Valaciunas started at the five. However, the Raptors still aren’t sold on the Valanciunas/Ibaka pairing in their frontcourt, since they believe both players are most effective as centers, team sources tell Josh Lewenberg of TSN.ca.

Lewenberg reiterates what has been reported several times since the end of the season, indicating that no one on the Raptors’ roster is untouchable in trade talks this offseason. So both Ibaka and Valanciunas could find themselves on the block in the coming days or weeks.

Of the two, the Raptors would likely prefer to move on from Ibaka, who has the more expensive contract and is coming off a disappointing postseason. Ibaka, who struggled with consistency from beyond the arc and on the defensive end, will earn $21.67MM in 2018/19 and $23.27MM in 2019/20.

Valanciunas, on the other hand, was once considered the Raptors’ most obvious trade candidate, but he expanded his game in 2017/18, playing improved defense and even flashing a three-point shot — the veteran center knocked down 30 threes last year after having made one in his first five seasons. He’s also slightly more affordable, with a $16.54MM cap hit in 2018/19 and a $17.62MM player option for 2019/20.

While there’s no guarantee that either player is traded this summer, the Raptors will be looking to cut costs somewhere in order to re-sign Fred VanVleet without going deep into luxury-tax territory, and youngsters Pascal Siakam and Jakob Poeltl could be ready to handle more minutes up front.

Ibaka and Valanciunas are the third- and fourth-highest-paid players on the roster, making them prime trade candidates if Toronto is reluctant to move star guards Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan. Norman Powell and C.J. Miles could also be trade chips.

newest oldest

10 thoughts on “Raptors Not Sold On Ibaka/Valanciunas Pairing

  1. victorg

    ibaka and lowry must go.. I don’t know if ibaka has any value at that price point.. maybe casey would have interest in moving Jackson for lowry ..

  2. I think what’s happening league-wide is that all the fringe ‘contenders’ – the 2,3,4 seeds – are throwing in the towel realising the next few years are the Warriors v. Rockets and whatever team LeBron plays for. They’re seeing that teams like the Sixers and Celts are much better assembled to step into the void once the aforementioned start to fade in the next few years. No point having near-30-year-old ‘good’ players like Ibaka, Lowry, Jordan etc taking up cap space. It’s basically a superstar and rookie league now. The current Spurs roster, as is, with Leonard isn’t winning anything – let him go… Granted, that’s a forced situation but could be a blessing in disguise

    • victorg

      well the problem with that logic IS it only take one injury to change a season .. Durant or Curry go down they can be had … hell if you can shut down Durant when he is playing hero ball then you have a chance as well… if paul goes down again and then harden bricks 20 plus 3s in a row like he did in the WCF then you got a chance … so I wouldn’t say throw in the towel for teams like Spurs,Nuggets,Raptors.. but you got to come to play with .. demar and lowry disappear in big games and kwahi has gotten hurt last 2 playoff series.

      • akaydn

        Inevitably the GMs who build their teams to the “we hope that other guy gets hurt or plays bad” blueprint don’t get to be GM very long.

  3. formerlyz

    Get rid of DeRozan. Bring in a secondary playmaker that can shoot, and a wing

  4. note2sb

    Get used to the top 4 remaining the same. Therefore we need to move Powell and Myles.

  5. cesc

    Powell is not a trade chip is a liability with that ridiculous contract they gave him. Toronto maybe should keep Valanciunas but definitely should get rid of useless guys like Ibaka & Lowry, the only keeper they have is DeRozan, but man Toronto is such a mess, so many dreadful contracts for so many average players, only star is DeRozan. So pleas let FVV walk too or sign him on the cheap 3-4MM/year, otherwise he will add to the list of average/mediocre players been overpaid in Toronto. SMH

Leave a Reply