Report: Serge Ibaka resented having to play behind Marc Gasol
Serge Ibaka and Marc Gasol went from teammates to now rivals, and it seems like the former prefers it that way.
Michael Grange of SportsNet reported Wednesday that while Ibaka wanted to return to the Toronto Raptors in free agency, negotiations rubbed him the wrong way. Specifically, Toronto offered him $12 million to return for the 2020-21 season, which was below what he was expecting. The Raptors then upped their offer to $14 million but were still trying to save money to re-sign Gasol as well. Ibaka reportedly resented having to play off the bench behind Gasol and refused to sign on again for a shared role.
The Raptors would ultimately end up losing both. The ex-NBA blocks leader Ibaka signed with the LA Clippers, where he now starts. Gasol, meanwhile, went to the crosstown rival Los Angeles Lakers and starts for them as well.
This report is certainly an interesting one given the history between Ibaka and Gasol. The two won the NBA title together with the Raptors in 2019 playing in their shared role. They have also played together on the Spanish national team, including a silver medal win at the 2012 London Olympics.
Ibaka was widely expected to re-sign with the Raptors this past offseason. It seems though he may have decided it was time to get out of Gasol’s shadow.