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Serge Ibaka Could Be Underrated Free Agency Signing for Mavs; Here’s Why

A look at how the addition of Serge Ibaka can make the Mavericks a contender.

During the 2010-11 season, the Dallas Mavericks were on a historic playoff run. After knocking off the Portland Trail Blazers in six games, and sweeping the Los Angeles Lakers, the Mavericks had one more team standing between them and the NBA Finals — the young, up-and-coming Oklahoma City Thunder.

OKC, led by Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook, had put together a very formidable team. They also had a young James Harden, who was still coming off the bench at that point in his career. Perhaps one of the most underrated players of that team, though, was their athletic, 6-10 power forward, Serge Ibaka.

Ibaka was coming into his own that season, averaging 9.9 points, 7.6 rebounds and 2.4 blocks per game. He did everything except give up easy looks in the paint. Although Ibaka will turn 33 years old in September, he’s still a candidate worth taking a look at if you’re a contender.

After agreeing to a trade with the Houston Rockets for Christian Wood, the Mavericks opened up three roster spots they’ll be looking to fill once free agency begins. They have their $6.3 million trade exception and will more than likely look to sign a few players to the veteran minimum as well. They have already been linked to players such as Gary Harris and Goran Dragic in rumors and speculation, but Ibaka could be an intriguing option as well.

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This season, Ibaka averaged right at 6.8 points and 4.6 rebounds in 16.2 minutes per game while shooting 35 percent from behind the arc. Adding Ibaka to the mix would provide Dallas with a low-post presence to help Christian Wood protect the rim, and a decent shooter to help space the floor. For his career, Ibaka has shot 51 percent from the field, including 36 percent from deep, and is averaging almost two blocks per game. 

Ibaka could be a valuable piece to Dallas, especially if he’s signed to a veteran minimum deal. The 2019 NBA champion will bring a tough, veteran mindset with ample playoff experience to any team he decides to join. The Mavericks had interest in Ibaka two summers ago before he signed with the Clippers, so we’ll see just how much interest they have in him this time around when free agency begins on July 1.