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Serge Ibaka Will Pick Up His Player Option And Return To The Clippers

The Los Angeles Clippers will retain the services of Serge Ibaka for the 2021-22 season. According to Shams Charania of The Athletic and Andrew Greif of the Los Angeles Times, the Clippers’ big man will pick up the player option in his contract for next season, eschewing free agency and giving L.A. a shot in the arm in its frontcourt.

Ibaka joined the Clippers in free agency last year from the Toronto Raptors and gave the team a consistent option in the frontcourt. Midway through the season, though, Ibaka suffered a back injury that held him out for essentially all of the second half of the year. While he tried to play in the team’s final two regular season games and its first two postseason tilts, Ibaka eventually got shut down, and it was announced that he needed to undergo back surgery.

It is not known if Ibaka will be ready to go when the 2021-22 campaign rolls around, but whenever he is able to play, he’ll give Los Angeles some frontcourt reinforcements that they don’t really have outside of Ivica Zubac — following Ibaka’s injury, the Clippers relied heavily on small ball last postseason, something that will likely be more difficult with Kawhi Leonard out for much (if not all) of next year. On the season, Ibaka averaged 11.1 points and 6.7 rebounds in 23.5 minutes per game.

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