Toronto Raptors

Toronto Raptors centre Serge Ibaka speaks on impending free agency: 'Why leave?'

Serge Ibaka has made his priorities in free agency clear.

Set to be an unrestricted free agent this offseason, Ibaka said during an interview on Wednesday that he's "going to stay" when asked what his plans are when his contract expires at the end of the season.

"I'm going to stay, bro," Ibaka said. "This place is beautiful. Have you been to Toronto before? It's a beautiful city. Beautiful city, beautiful people here and we have one of the best teams. Why leave, bro?"

Ibaka joined the Raptors during the 2016-17 season by way of a trade from the Orlando Magic. He's gone from being the team's starting power forward to its backup centre behind Marc Gasol, but Ibaka's change in role hasn't prevented him from playing some of the best basketball of his career this season. In 27.5 minutes per game, the 30-year-old is averaging a career-best 16.0 points to go along with 8.3 rebounds, 1.5 assists and 0.8 blocks.

Ibaka also played a key role in the franchise's championship run last season, posting 9.4 points, 6.0 rebounds and 1.0 blocks per game off the bench in the playoffs.

The Raptors have the cap space to re-sign Ibaka, but with reports that they're hoping to make a splash in the summer of 2021, it remains to be seen how much money and how many years they would be willing to commit to Ibaka, as well as Gasol and Fred VanVleet, all of whom will be unrestricted free agents this offseason.

Colin Ward-Henninger of CBS Sports ranked Ibaka as the 16th-best player available in free agency this offseason, whereas HoopsHype ranked him as the 15th-best player available and the third-best centre available.

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