Serge Ibaka signed with the Los Angeles Clippers ahead of last season, leaving the Toronto Raptors to seek a second title with former Raps teammate Kawhi Leonard. After falling a bit short this year, Ibaka is set to give it another go-around.
Ibaka was effective when he played for L.A. last season, but dealt with a major back injury that cost him 30 straight games during the year. He’d return just before the playoffs, but was shut down after two appearances in the opening round against the Dallas Mavericks, undergoing surgery to repair the issue.
He averaged 23.3 points per game this year, averaging 11.1 points, 6.7 rebounds, and 1.1 blocks per game.
Ahead of 2020-21, Ibaka signed a two year, $18.98 million deal with the Clippers, with a player option for the second year. According to NBA insider Shams Charania of The Athletic, Ibaka is picking up that option to stay with the team.
Clippers F/C Serge Ibaka is exercising his $9.7 million player option for the 2021-22 season, sources tell @TheAthletic @Stadium.
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) July 31, 2021
Serge Ibaka’s minutes were the lowest they’ve been since his rookie year with the Oklahoma City Thunder in 2009-10, and his scoring output was his lowest mark since 2011-12. Of course, with Leonard and Paul George on the roster, there is less of an onus on Ibaka as an offensive weapon.
Hopefully he makes a full recovery and can take on a large role with the Clippers next season. It should once again be NBA Title-or-bust for the franchise, assuming Kawhi Leonard picks up his own $36 million player option to return to the club.
With Leonard missing the end of this year’s playoff run, leaving superstar duties to Paul George, the team fell to the Phoenix Suns 4-2 in the Western Conference Finals.
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