In their quest to get over the hump in the Western Conference, the Oklahoma City Thunder have traded forward Serge Ibaka to the Orlando Magic.
NBA Communications announced on June 23 that the Magic acquired Ibaka and the Thunder will receive Victor Oladipo, Ersan Ilyasova and the draft rights to No. 11 draft pick Domantas Sabonis, which Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical first reported.
4 Years Ago, Kobe Passed Jordan on the NBA Scoring List
Drummond and Embiid Reignite Rivalry
Happy 24th Birthday to Giannis Antetokounmpo
D-Rose Turned Back the Clock and Put Up 50
Dubs Trolled Fergie So Hard It Became a Challenge
CP3-Rondo Blowup Was a Long Time Coming
NBA Let Players Know They Have to Cover Branded Tattoos
The NBA Is Back and the Soccer World Is Pumped
Boban Is Back to Break It Down for Another Season
Players Battle Campers in Rivalry of the Summer
Happy 30th to KD!
Andrew Bynum Is Making an NBA Comeback
Kobe's Hottest Kicks 👟
The Kyrie-I.T. Trade Shook the NBA 1 Year Ago Today
Dyckman Courts Are the Red Carpet of Streetball
Giannis' Youngest Brother Could Be the True 'Greek Freak'
#JamesGang Got AAU Hoops on Lock 🔒
11 Years Ago, KG Joined the Celtics
LeBron's School Opens in Akron 💪
Embiid Putting the World on a Poster This Offseason
Royce Young of ESPN provided Thunder general manager Sam Presti's comments on the move after the trade was announced:
Ibaka took to Instagram on June 24 to express his thoughts:
NormanTranscript.com's Fred Katz provided Oladipo's reaction on Saturday:
The Thunder have been close to obtaining the brass ring over the last six years with nothing to show for it. They have reached the Western Conference Finals four times since 2010-11 and lost in the NBA Finals in 2012.
This postseason was particularly devastating for the Thunder, who blew a 3-1 lead against the Golden State Warriors in the Western Conference Finals. Ibaka has been with the team for all of those failures, being drafted in the first round in 2008 when the club was still the Seattle SuperSonics.
Already facing the prospect of losing Kevin Durant to free agency, the Thunder had to take drastic action to keep their biggest star and get better next season. Oladipo brings a strong defensive acumen with him to Oklahoma City that he will use to help stifle players like Golden State's Stephen Curry.
Despite potentially leaving in free agency, Durant praised the move on June 27 while also wishing his former teammate well, per Anthony Slater of NewsOK.com:
It’s a good move. I like Oladipo. He’s a good buddy, a friend of mine, and I’m definitely going to miss playing with Serge. He contributed so much to our organization and to the city, and he’s a pioneer for what he’s done for us and it’s always going to be remembered in OKC what he’s done for the community and his hard work on the court, so we wish him the best.
Ilyasova is an older (29), less expensive version of the 26-year-old Ibaka. He is primarily a shooter who has connected on 37.9 percent of his three-point attempts the last two seasons.
Andy Glockner of The Cauldron loves the deal from Oklahoma City's perspective:
The Thunder have Steven Adams (22), who is four years younger than Ibaka and is capable of doing most of the things that made Ibaka such an integral part of the rotation.
Ibaka also made sense as a natural trade chip because he's entering the final year of his contract at an affordable $12.25 million salary, per Spotrac. Oklahoma City has to think long-term with Russell Westbrook poised to hit free agency next summer.
Ibaka changed his game the last two years to become more of a three-point shooter, which has hurt some of the things that made him vital to Oklahoma City's success during his career.
|Serge Ibaka Career Stats|
|Seasons||FG%||3P FG Attempted||Rebound Rate (Per 100 Possessions)||Block Rate (Per 100 Possessions)|
Ibaka is capable of getting back to basic fundamentals, however. He was one of the NBA's most valuable assets from 2012 to 2014 when he racked up 19 win shares over two seasons, per Basketball-Reference.com.
The Magic needed to get bigger and more physical on the inside. Ibaka hasn't played like that the last two years, but new Orlando head coach Frank Vogel always had tough defensive teams at Indiana and will make sure the power forward knows how to make the most of his gifts.