The Clippers are trading center Serge Ibaka, a former major free-agency signing whose tenure was marred by injury, to Milwaukee as part of a four-team exchange that will net the Clippers wings Rodney Hood and Semi Ojeleye from Milwaukee, according to a person with knowledge of the terms who is not authorized to speak publicly about it.
The trade, which also involved Detroit and Sacramento, will not net the Clippers any draft picks, the source said, but creates a traded-player contract exception worth $9.7 million, the size of Ibaka’s expiring salary, and streamlines the team’s center rotation.
Coach Tyronn Lue, speaking at the team’s shootaround Thursday morning, said he is looking forward to playing smaller lineups more often, though he could not discuss the trade specifically because it was not yet official.
The 6-foot-6 Ojeleye was a second-round pick of Boston in 2017 and is a 34% three-point shooter for his career, with averages of 2.9 points, 2.9 rebounds and 26% shooting from deep this season with the Bucks. The 6-8 Hood was in his first season with Milwaukee, where he had made 30% of his three-pointers and 35% of his shots from the field while averaging 14.9 minutes off the bench.
The trade came three hours before Thursday’s noon PST trade deadline, but the Clippers (27-29) are not expected to be done. Their roster currently sits at the maximum number of 15 players under contract. It’s also a roster dominated by wings, with a dearth of primary ballhandlers, though president of basketball operations Lawrence Frank said last week that he doesn’t view a traditional point guard as a necessity if a player at another position possesses a similar skillset.
As part of the trade, the Kings are receiving Donte DiVincenzo, Trey Lyles and Josh Jackson while the Pistons receive Marvin Bagley Jr. The Bucks are getting Ibaka, second-round picks and cash, according to ESPN.