Kyle Lowry said something had to change in Toronto. Serge Ibaka is on his way to try to make that happen.
The Raptors acquired the veteran power forward from Orlando on Tuesday for Terrence Ross and a 2017 first round draft pick.
Orlando general manager Rob Hennigan said Tuesday evening the trade of Ibaka for Ross was necessary for the Magic to have a chance of salvaging a season that has gone drastically off course.
The Raptors made the move with the postseason and possible championship run in mind.
"Any time you can add a talent who has got playoff experience, (NBA) Finals experience, and a defender and two-way player like Ibaka has got to give us a boost," Raptors coach Dwane Casey said Tuesday night in Chicago before the Raptors-Bulls game. "Ibaka fills a huge need.
"His style of play fits our style of play. ... There's nothing we're doing that he hasn't seen before. It won't take him long to pick up the terminology."
Toronto started the day in fourth place in the Eastern Conference, having lost 10 of its previous 14 games. The latest ugly performance came on Sunday when the Raptors gave up a 16-point lead to start the fourth quarter and lost to the Detroit Pistons.
After the game, Lowry didn't pull any punches on the state of a team that made the Eastern Conference finals last season but has lost to the Magic twice, the Pistons, Timberwolves and Suns during this latest swoon.
"Keep getting in the same situations over and over and not being successful," Lowry said after the 102-101 loss. "Something's got to give, something's got to change."
Casey has said all season long that the something is defense. Toronto ranks 17th in the NBA in defensive efficiency, allowing 106.2 points per 100 possessions. The coach knows that won't be close to good enough when they get into the playoffs to try to build off of last year's run to the Eastern Conference finals.
"Like most players, he has migrated out on the perimeter, so his shot-blocking and rebounding (numbers) are down a little bit," Casey said of Ibaka. "But there's a lot of difference positions he can play for us.
"He can play close to the basket, because he's smart and versatile. There are situations that he could possibly play the 5 for us if we do go small. He gives us a lot of flexibility."
Ibaka averaged 15.1 points and 6.8 rebounds for the Magic this season. He has long been considered a rugged defensive power forward, and has experience making deep playoff runs with the Thunder. He will be a free agent this summer after being acquired from Oklahoma City on draft night last summer for Victor Oladipo, Ersan Ilyasova and the first-round draft pick that became Domantas Sabonis.