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Magic's Serge Ibaka appears in play as trade deadline approaches

Serge Ibaka is averaging a career-high 15.1 points per game with the Magic. Could he be on the move come deadline day? Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

While Kevin Durant was reacquainting himself with Oklahoma City soil on Saturday, former teammate Serge Ibaka was a three-hour drive away from the KD-in-OKC tension, playing for the Orlando Magic in Dallas.

Stay tuned, though.

There's a growing sense around the league ‚Äéthat Ibaka could be on the move again as the league's Feb. 23 trade deadline draws near.

The Thunder shook up the 2016 NBA draft when, just days before Durant's free agency, they dealt Ibaka to the Magic. Orlando was willing to part with Victor Oladipo and the rights to No. 11 pick Domantas Sabonis to make the swap, confident that Ibaka could be sold on a long-term future in the Magic Kingdom.

Seven months and change later, Orlando is exploring all of its options anew. League sources say the Magic are fielding calls from a handful of teams on Ibaka as the deadline approaches, amid undeniable concern that retaining the Congo native in free agency come July will prove much trickier than initially anticipated.

Sources say Toronto and Miami are among the Eastern Conference teams that have expressed interest in Ibaka this month. 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.

Can the Magic get a first-round pick for Ibaka from a team seeking a playoff-tested vet to add to its front-court rotation? Or can they get a quality player under 25 a la Oladipo?

Like we said: Stay tuned.


Dribbling around the league for more of the latest personnel chatter in advance of the league's Feb. 23 buzzer for trades:

  • Skepticism about Atlanta's recent insistence that Paul Millsap is completely off the market has been fairly rampant. The Hawks, however, are adamant that Millsap is staying put in the wake of the Kyle Korver-to-Cleveland deal in early January ... whether rival teams believe them or not. Atlanta began sounding out teams about potential Millsap interest at the same time Korver was made available in early January. Then the team abruptly changed course and told Millsap he should plan to play out the season with the team he's about to rep in his third successive All-Star Game, even if that means Atlanta risks losing the 32-year-old for nothing when Millsap hits free agency in July.

  • Now that the Jusuf Nurkic trade we've been anticipating for weeks has materialized at last, league sources say Danilo Gallinari is a prime Nugget to watch between now and the deadline. The Raptors and Clippers are among the teams said to be monitoring Gallinari's availability, amidst a growing belief that Denver is prepared to move him, given that the Nuggets anticipate that Gallinari will bypass the final season of his current contract (valued at $16.1 million) and join Millsap on the open market, and they don't plan to spend big to retain the Italian.

  • Sources say Portland is determined to move injured center Festus Ezeli before the deadline and is pitching him in particular to teams well below the salary floor that would be willing to take on Ezeli's contract with some level of draft compensation attached. This is the first year of a two-year deal that pays Ezeli $7.4 million this season but is guaranteed for only $1 million next season. Denver ($7.6 million), Philadelphia ($7.5 million) and Brooklyn ($6.8 million) are the three teams that sit the farthest under the league's $84.7 million salary floor.

  • The Nets, as ESPN.com reported in late December, continue to demand two first-round draft picks if they are to part with center Brook Lopez before the deadline.

  • Mavericks guard Yogi Ferrell revealed in his recent appearance on the "NBA Insiders" show on ESPN Radio that he had convinced Dallas to give him a two-year deal even before his 32-point eruption in a nationally televised win over Portland. The second season is a team option at $1.3 million, but it is fully guaranteed if the Mavericks elect to pick it up. Dallas will have to make that call by June 24.


Through play Saturday, there have been 66 triple-doubles in the NBA this season, with Draymond Green's one-of-a-kind contribution Friday night in Memphis putting the league just 13 triple-doubles shy of a new single-season NBA record.

That's with a full 60 days to go in the regular season.

We're on pace to see 99 triple-doubles by season's end, which would crush the single-season high established in Magic Johnson's heyday in 1988-89.

The previous league record for triple-doubles before the All-Star break, in case you're wondering, was 45 -- in Oscar Robertson's historic 1961-62 season that we've been referencing on a daily basis, thanks to the Russell Westbrook triple-double train. We saw 40 triple-doubles before the All-Star break last season.


If I'm going to reference my beloved Buffalo Braves at every opportunity -- something we've imposed on you in this cyberspace for 15 seasons and counting -- it's only right to pass along the most painful of remembrances when it's so unavoidably relevant.

Leave it to the Elias Sports Bureau to inform us that Durant, with his 34 points in Saturday's OKC homecoming, just became the first player to post three 30-point games in one season against the team he played for the previous season since (gulp) Bob McAdoo in 1977-78 ... for the Knicks against my Braves.


The last word in this Son of Weekend Dime goes to Stephen Curry, courtesy of our visit with No. 30 for SportsCenter on the floor moments after Golden State finished its 130-114 triumph on a wild night in Loud City.

Asked about the vitriol that greeted Durant, as well as KD's third-quarter tangles with both Russell Westbrook and Andre Roberson, Curry said:

"For us, it was very, very similar to what we've experienced [in OKC] before. But I know, for him, it had to be weird. It had to be.

"This game meant a lot to both sides. There's a lot of chirping, a lot of back-and-forth, a lot of competition. There's some familiarity obviously. He knows every single guy in that locker room over there, so you had to expect something to happen. But at the end of the day, we focused on basketball."