After losing two key big men on the first day of NBA free agency, the LA Clippers bounced back Saturday.
Free agent Serge Ibaka plans to sign a two-year, $19 million deal with the Clippers, a source told ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski. The deal will include a player option in the second year, the source said.
Harrell, the reigning Sixth Man of the Year, stunned many by moving down the Staples Center hallway and agreeing to join the defending champion Los Angeles Lakers on what agent Rich Paul of Klutch Sports told Wojnarowski is a two-year deal worth approximately $19 million. And Green, a significant piece of the Clippers' rotation, agreed to a two-year, $15 million deal with the Denver Nuggets, a league source confirmed to ESPN.
In dire need of a quality and versatile big man, the Clippers were able to engineer a reunion of Ibaka with Kawhi Leonard. The two friends helped the Toronto Raptors win the NBA championship in 2018-19. The 7-foot Ibaka gives the Clippers a stretch 5 who averaged a career-high 15.4 points to go with 8.2 rebounds and 38.5% 3-point shooting last season for the Raptors. Ibaka, 31, also provides the Clippers with some much-needed size and rim protection to go up against the likes of the Lakers' Anthony Davis and the Nuggets' Nikola Jokic. Ibaka has averaged 2.1 blocks per game over his 12-year career.
Ibaka thanked the Raptors in a series of tweets Sunday afternoon.
How to explain what Toronto, Canada, and the Raptors mean to me? I was welcomed to a new country and a new team more than three years ago and I felt at home from day one. I feel really blessed to have played for this city, these fans, and this organization. pic.twitter.com/ptCtzVCs0c— Serge Ibaka (@sergeibaka) November 22, 2020
The love I have received during this journey I will never forget. I want to thank Larry Tanenbaum and MLSE and the whole Toronto Raptors organization. It is really a great organization that takes care of its players and I'm thankful that I became an NBA Champion with them.— Serge Ibaka (@sergeibaka) November 22, 2020
I've had great teammates, front office and staff next to me. And of course, a fan base that is second to none. So thank you Toronto. Thank you, Canada. And thank you @Raptors. I am one of yours forever. #WeTheNorth— Serge Ibaka (@sergeibaka) November 22, 2020
The Clippers' two biggest wins of free agency so far have been Ibaka and Marcus Morris Sr., who agreed to return on a four-year, $64 million deal, a source told Wojnarowski. The Clippers also agreed to terms Friday to bring back reserve big man Patrick Patterson, Excel Sports Management agent Sam Goldfeder told Wojnarowski.
After falling well short of championship expectations by blowing a 3-1 lead in the second round of the 2020 playoffs to the Nuggets, the Clippers will try to make another title run with considerable changes to the team around Leonard and Paul George. Ty Lue replaced Doc Rivers as coach with a revamped staff. And the Clippers will now have Ibaka joining Morris and Ivica Zubac in the frontcourt after losing their leading bench scorer in Harrell, who averaged 18.6 points and 7.1 rebounds. The Clippers also hope that the well-liked Ibaka can help improve the team's chemistry.
The Clippers still can use another big man and potentially a point guard who can help alleviate the playmaking burden on Leonard and George.