Retaining players from the previous season has dominated the Milwaukee Bucks’ offseason moves thus far, and that trend continued on Monday.
The Bucks and seasoned center, Serge Ibaka, have agreed on a one-year contract, The Athletic first reported. The Bucks have now re-signed Bobby Portis, Jevon Carter, Wesley Matthews, and Ibaka. This clearly indicates a willingness to rerun it with roughly the same group next season with a few small modifications. Ibaka is expected to return to Milwaukee for another round.
Reaction to the Milwaukee Bucks surprisingly re-signing Serge Ibaka
The Milwaukee Bucks’ decision to re-sign Serge Ibaka this offseason is a bit unexpected, unlike their other three major players. Ibaka appeared to be considering alternative options in free agency after sitting out a substantial chunk of the 2022 postseason. This was because other teams may have been able to offer him both more playing time and money. Nobody could have blamed him for looking for those things. It was so unexpected when Ibaka’s return to Milwaukee was initially announced.
Reasonable Decision by Milwaukee Bucks?
Retaining Ibaka is a rational choice for the Bucks. Last season, the squad struggled at the center position. The starter Brook Lopez played in just 13 games during the regular season after having emergency back surgery. The Bucks were fortunate to have Bobby Portis step in temporarily. However, they struggled to find a reliable backup during the regular season, going through different players. Players like DeMarcus Cousins, Greg Monroe, and Luke Kornet were tried but of no use. Finally, they acquired Serge Ibaka in a trade at the deadline. Now that Lopez is well and Portis has agreed to return, Ibaka will offer solid insurance at the center position behind those two in the upcoming season. As the previous campaign proved, there is never too much depth in any position.
Ibaka: the Super-Sub?
Ibaka has shown that he could still contribute when given the chance in addition to being a valuable player for depth. The center averaged seven points, 51.9 percent from the field, and 35.1 percent from outside the arc. He also averaged 5.3 rebounds per game in 19 games during the regular season. Considering that he is Milwaukee’s backup center, those numbers are not even passable. Ibaka is still capable of providing the Bucks with a two-way spark when needed at the age of 32 and still has plenty of gas left in the tank.
Blessing in Disguise for Bucks
There is no financial incentive to dislike this decision either, given that this is probably a minimal contract. Behind Lopez and Portis, the Bucks needed to add another big man for good measure, and Ibaka was perhaps the best and most affordable choice on the market. The center has experience playing in this system and with almost everyone on the current squad, so a team with really little financial freedom can justify keeping him around on the cheap.