The L.A. Clippers, at one point, found themselves in a precarious position in free agency. With Montrezl Harrell departing for their in-arena rival and signing a deal with the Lakers, the Clippers were suddenly very thin in the frontcourt and were in desperate need of finding a high-level replacement for the reigning Sixth Man of the Year.
Enter Serge Ibaka, who is coming off of one of his best seasons of his career and an excellent playoff run with the Toronto Raptors, who agreed to a mid-level deal to become the Clippers super-sub in the frontcourt — and likely will finish many games on the floor. In joining the Clippers, Ibaka reunites with his buddy Kawhi Leonard, as they won a championship in Toronto together in 2019. It was with Serge that Leonard always seemed to offer the greatest glimpse into his personality, whether on Ibaka’s “How Hungry Are You?” YouTube show or in the infamous celebratory, “What it do babyyyyy” video.
The famously stoic Leonard was part of the recruiting pitch for Ibaka, but rather than courting him to join the Clippers with a long-winded pitch, he went with a more direct approach that Ibaka found pretty funny.
— NBA TV (@NBATV) December 3, 2020
It’s pretty great that Kawhi just so happened to hit Serge with a “What’s up?” text and then the follow up later was simply, “Bro, are you coming or no?” It’s not an approach that can work for many, but it’s extremely on brand for Leonard and clearly succeeded in getting the big fella to L.A. to salvage the Clippers offseason and keep them among the favorites behind the Lakers for next season.