Despite Bam Adebayo’s emergence as a bona fide alpha and two-way star, not to mention Caleb Martin’s elevated play and Orlando Robinson making the most of his opportunities, the Miami Heat could use some help up front.
As if it were fated by the basketball gods, a battle-tested vet and former blocks champion — who once tangled with LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh during the 2012 NBA Finals — just became available on the trade market, too.
Namely, Serge Ibaka, who was playing for the Milwaukee Bucks before getting shut down earlier this season. And while some in the Heat’s corner of the hardwood universe have advised against pursuing the 33-year-old, HoopsHype‘s Michael Scotto just reported that Miami is keeping tabs on the situation.
“Several teams are monitoring Ibaka, including the Brooklyn Nets, Miami Heat and Atlanta Hawks, league sources told HoopsHype,” wrote Scotto. “The sense is that Milwaukee would be willing to part with Ibaka for a second-round pick, according to NBA executives who spoke with HoopsHype.”
Rumored Heat Trade Target Serge Ibaka Requested a Ticket Out of Milwaukee Recently
When Ibaka joined the Bucks after his run with the LA Clippers petered out in the wake of a back injury, the hope was obviously that he could reclaim a spot as a key cog for a title contender. Alas, his run with Giannis Antetokounmpo and Co. hasn’t followed the script.
As of this writing, Ibaka has appeared in just 16 contests for the Bucks in 2022-23, most frequently in brief stints. Consequently, he’s averaging career lows in points (4.1), rebounds (2.8) and blocks (0.4) per game. So, when The Athletic’s Shams Charania reported that the two sides had agreed that a trade would be in their mutual best interest, it was hardly a surprise.
For his part, though, the South Florida Sun Sentinel’s Ira Winderman believes that the Heat would be better-served picking Ibaka up on the buyout market (or avoiding him altogether).
“Serge Ibaka of a decade ago? Perhaps. But there obviously is a reason he has not been playing, or hasn’t been given an opportunity to play…” Winderman wrote. “Of course, if the Heat only have one minimum salary left to offer, would that be better utilized on converting Orlando Robinson’s two-way deal…?”
Is Dewayne Dedmon on the Outs?
If the Heat did decide to pursue an Ibaka trade, shedding veteran big Dewayne Dedmon — whose role and minutes are ever-shrinking — is a logical precursor. Due to the salary disparity, another contract would have to be involved if the two were actually traded for one another, but the switcheroo is fairly cut and dry from a rotational standpoint.
Wrote Scotto: “With Miami center Dewayne Dedmon considered expendable, as noted in a recent HoopsHype podcast episode and echoed by Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald, Ibaka could be a veteran alternative at center for the Heat.”
As fate would have it, Heat president Pat Riley and Dedmon were snapped together outside of a basketball setting recently, leading some to believe that the Godfather has already informed Dedmon of his intentions to move him: