According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, the LA Clippers are trading Serge Ibaka to the Milwaukee Bucks for Semi Ojeleye and Rodney Hood. The exchange is part of a larger, four-team framework that also sees the Bucks send Donte DiVincenzo head to Sacramento. Here’s Woj’s full description of the trade:
For the Clippers, this deal is pretty much a straight-up salary dump of Ibaka’s $9.7M deal, which serves a few purposes. First, because the Clippers didn’t need to bring back any additional salary in this move (the minimum salaries of Hood and Ojeleye don’t count as incoming trade salary), they were able to create a $9.7M TPE that they can use either today, next off-season, or at next year’s trade deadline. Second, Ibaka’s logical fit in Milwaukee as a fill-in for Brook Lopez, who is out indefinitely following back surgery, meant that LAC didn’t have to give up a 2nd round pick to move Ibaka’s deal. Third, the Clippers can now easily cut Hood and Ojeleye–which I expect them to do–and create a second open roster spot, allowing them to both pursue a backup point guard on the buyout market and convert Amir Coffey’s two-way contract to a full-time NBA deal. Lastly, this trade will save Steve Ballmer a substantial amount of money in luxury tax penalties–not something I really care about and not something that the Clippers have prioritized doing, but a relevant fact nonetheless. Still, this trade makes clear sense for LAC even without considering Ballmer’s wallet.
As I noted above, Hood and Ojeleye appear to be likely candidates to be cut upon their arrival to the Clippers, as they have each been quite bad in Milwaukee this season and LAC has higher priorites for those roster spots. However, anything is possible as the deadline approaches and the Clippers continue to weigh other deals that could open up spots and playing time for Hood or Ojeleye. If it does turn out that other moves change circumstances higher up the roster, we’ll take a deeper look at what those guys could bring to the team over the weekend.
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