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Report: Serge Ibaka exercising player option with Clippers for 2021-22

The veteran center will make $9.7 million in Los Angeles next season.

Serge Ibaka #9 of the LA Clippers looks on during Round 1, Game 5 of the 2021 NBA Playoffs on June 2, 2021 at STAPLES Center in Los Angeles, California.  Photo by Adam Pantozzi/NBAE via Getty Images

Veteran center Serge Ibaka has opted into his $9.7 player option with the Los Angeles Clippers for the 2021-22 season, Shams Charania reported on Saturday night. Ibaka could have become an unrestricted free agent on Monday, August 2nd, had he not opted into his contract. It made sense for Ibaka to stay with the Clippers and take the guaranteed money. There’s a chance Ibaka would have landed with a contender in free agency, but he also is coming off an injury-riddled season.

Ibaka played a little over half the season, appearing in 41 games for LA in 2020-21. He missed the entire 2021 NBA playoffs with back issues, which are never good for a big man late in his career. Hopefully Ibaka can get healthy over the offseason and provide some minutes off the bench for the Clippers, who will be without F Kawhi Leonard for most of the campaign due a torn ACL.

Ibaka averaged 11.1 points and 6.7 rebounds per game with a 18.21 PER this past season. So when he was healthy and playing, Ibaka was an asset to the Clippers on both ends. Ibaka came over to play with Leonard after winning a championship with the All-Star while with the Toronto Raptors in 2019. Ibaka may not