It remains to be seen if the Cavaliers will add a body to replace Kevin Love, who will miss six weeks recovering from knee surgery. But the Cavs may want to take a page from Toronto, who acquired Serge Ibaka from Orlando on Tuesday.
“I think you have to make a move to maybe just add on to what you’re trying to get done,” NBA-TV’s Dennis Scott said on CBS Sports Radio’s The DA Show. “It’s very similar to what we saw with Toronto. (The Magic) finally moved Ibaka because Ibaka said he was not going to re-sign with Orlando. Now if you’re a Raptors fan, you can honestly say the Raptors have made a legitimate move to make them better, to make the Eastern Conference say, ‘Okay, they’ve added a veteran piece that’s a two-way guy that can make something happen instantly on the defensive end – we know Serge Ibaka is one of the best shot-blockers in the NBA – and he’s one of the best mid-range power forward jump-shot-makers.’ So now I can look at Toronto and say, ‘You know what? I don’t know if it’s enough, but at least they’re making the right moves to be taken seriously.’”
Orlando sent Ibaka, who was averaging 15.1 points, 6.8 rebounds and 1.6 blocks, to Toronto for small forward Terrence Ross and a 2017 first-round pick. The Raptors (32-24), who advanced to the Eastern Conference Finals last year, are seven games behind Cleveland (38-16) but just 4.5 games behind second-seeded Boston (36-19).
Scott believes Ibaka can be a difference-maker for Toronto.
“No question about it,” Scott said. “Ibaka can be that missing piece. Let’s face it: Last year, (Bismack) Biyombo did an excellent job being a rim protector. He went up to the top of the square and challenged LeBron James and blocked those shots cleanly. He’s gone now. So Toronto said, ‘Wait a minute, how can we get back to the Eastern Conference Finals if we don’t have that defensive presence?’ So I thought that was huge for them to go get a guy like Ibaka who’s a two-way player who can knock down that mid-range jump-shot as well.”