The good-natured banter between then Toronto Raptors teammates Serge Ibaka and Kawhi Leonard in one April 2019 episode of ‘How Hungry Are You?’ Ibaka’s unique cooking show on YouTube is both funny and revealing, as Leonard rarely lets the world enjoy his sense of humor.
In it, Ibaka asks his guest the question that everyone in Canada wanted to know at the time: “Are you coming back?”
“I don’t know yet,” says Leonard.
“You’re better, brother.”
“But what kind of question is that?” Leonard protests.
“Bro,” says Ibaka, “I’ve worked so hard to make you feel comfortable.”
“Do you have?” Leonard replies, with a sly smile.
This weekend, Leonard wanted to know if Ibaka would join him.
Ibaka didn’t hesitate for long and reportedly agreed to include the Clippers on the two-year $ 19 million bid on Saturday. And now it’s the SoCal native’s turn to hospitality, as they’ll team up to try and deliver another organization with the first NBA championship they’re so hungry for.
The last free agency, the Clippers, were the winners of the Leonard sweepstakes, bringing the resident of Moreno Valley on board and pairing him with Paul George to instantly turn their team into a contender for the NBA crown.
They fell quite short of Leonard’s first season in LA and suffered a sharp collapse from the second round playoffs in the Orlando bubble, where they blew a 3-1 lead against the Denver Nuggets.
In the immediate aftermath of the season-specific Game 7 defeat, Leonard made a request: “I just have to hand it over and get smarter as a team. Get smarter. Basketball IQ has to get better. ”
Enter Ibaka, who is known for his wit on the court as he makes the good read and is in the right place.
In Toronto, Ibaka and Leonard worked well together. They shared the word for nearly 1,200 regular season minutes, during which time the Raptors had an offensive rating of 115.2 and a defensive rating of 108.8, for net power of 6.4.
They were even better together in the postseason, when they played 327 minutes together and posted an offensive rating of 112.9 and a defensive rating of 100.3 for a net rating of 12.6.
After Leonard left for LA, Ibaka stayed in Toronto for the last year of his contract, and he had arguably his best offensive season, with a career high of 15.4 points and 1.4 assists, while shooting 38.5 percent from a three-point distance.
And what if Leonard and Ibaka aren’t the only duo reunited on the Clippers roster?
It’s possible that the Morris twins – the versatile Marcus Morris Sr. and hard-nosed Markieff – could work together again, at least according to a reporter for the Bay Area TV station. On Saturday, Jason Dumas tweeted that LA might be interested in bringing in Markieff Morris to join his brother Marcus, though the Clippers were thought to be “taking their time.”
Source: Markieff Morris wants to join his brother Marcus with the Los Angeles Clippers. The Clippers are interested, but take their time.
Lakers are still interested in getting him back, even with the signing of Montrezl Harrell.
– Jason Dumas (@JDumasReports) November 22, 2020
Marcus is already in the herd; Shortly after the NBA’s free agency opened Friday, he agreed to stay with the Clippers for a four-year deal worth $ 64 million.
On Sunday evening, Markieff, who won an NBA title with the Lakers last season, remained free agent.
The 31-year-olds were teammates many times, through school, AAU and collegiate in Kansas before being called up, back to back, in 2011, with Markieff going 13th to the Suns and Marcus being selected 14th by Houston.
And after the Rockets traded Marcus to Phoenix in 2013, they were on the same side as pros for a season of more than two on the Suns.
In both full seasons, the brothers played together in the desert, posting positive net ratings while on the field together, averaging 25 points in 2013-14 and 22.4 points combined in 2014-15. Then, much to the twins’ chagrin, Marcus was traded to Detroit for the 2015-16 season (with Reggie Bullock and Danny Granger, to Detroit for just the second round of 2020).
It’s certainly worth noting that the Lakers – who reportedly agreed on a two-year deal with center Marc Gasol on Saturday – would also reportedly want to bring Markieff back, and according to NBA The Athletic’s John Hollinger would oppose an increase. of 20 percent on his minimum contract, as a non-Bird-free agent, for about $ 2.8 million.
With 11 guaranteed contracts, the Clippers, meanwhile, are looking for a primary ball handler and improved front depth to help cover JaMychal Green’s departure. They have their biennial exception (worth $ 3.6 million) and veteran minimum contracts to do it.