Lakers target Serge Ibaka in free agency

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The Lakers will hand out rings and hoist a banner at Staples Center on December 22, but don’t expect them to come back and expect to win again. They have their own free agents to deal with – Rajon Rondo, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Dwight Howard, Anthony Davis (although he will re-sign and stay in LA) – and they want to make some additions as well.

Serge Ibaka could be one of those, reports Heavy.com’s Sean Deveney.

“From a staff perspective, he’s exactly the kind of great type of combo that the team (the Lakers) need,” an NBA general manager told Heavy.com. “They were interested in him before and they will do it again. When in good health, he’s a great starter in 5 (center) and 4 (power forward). He’s as good a bench big as there is in the league. He was a really believable 3-point threat last year. If he’s willing to take what the Lakers can afford to give him, I know they would.

This last part – the money – is the key. The Lakers will only have their mid-level exception of $ 9.3 million to spend on a player of this caliber, and that’s what several teams should be offering Ibaka. The Lakers, ideally, want to split their middle level between a veteran couple to add more depth that can help them win now. Would Ibaka take $ 5.5 million or $ 6 million to come to the Lakers and chase another ring (he has one from Toronto) instead of a few million more to play elsewhere?

The adjustment with Los Angeles is indisputable. Ibaka averaged 15.4 points and 8.2 rebounds per game for the Raptors last season, shot 38.5 percent on three, is a fierce shot blocker and rim protector, and is a veteran who knows how adapt to the stars. He’s played as a starter and off the bench, and it’s easy to see him stepping back or playing next to Davis.

Most likely, Toronto will keep Ibaka. However, he’s exactly the kind of veteran you’d expect the Lakers to pursue in free agency – and LeBron James and Los Angeles’ double draws are going to land some quality players.

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