The 2016 NBA draft became a winning situation for the Oklahoma City Thunder and a surprise for the 26-year-old power forward Serge Ibaka.
In the recent NBA draft, the Oklahoma City Thunder traded Serge Ibaka for Orlando Magic’s Victor Oladipo, Ersan Ilyasova, and Domantas Sabonis. Many have praised that Thunder’s decision and said that the trade would help them to re-sign Kevin Durant. However, Serge Ibaka seemed to be left on the coast, uninformed of the deal.
Serge Ibaka was one of the players who stepped up for the Oklahoma City Thunder in their clash against the Golden State Warriors in the Western Conference Finals. However, they fell short after being defeated in Game 7. As free agency draws near, the Thunder’s attention is focused on how they will re-sign Kevin Durant.
There were previous speculations that Serge Ibaka was not contented with his role with the Thunder. He was always seen being the third wheel for Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook.
“It’s hard sometimes when you play so hard on defense, then you come to offense and you’re going to be out there in the corner for four, five, six, sometimes eight minutes and you don’t touch the ball,” Ibaka told reporters in March.
Chris Mannix of the Vertical reported that Serge Ibaka didn’t expect that the trade would happen. His agent Andy Miller believed that his bond with Thunder coach Billy Donovan could give him an expanded role in the offense next season.
“There was an expectation of a larger role,” Ibaka’s agent, Andy Miller, told The Vertical. “It was overpromised and under-delivered. Everyone should be held to the same level of accountability across the board.”
The Thunder-Magic trade deal might be a saddening farewell for Ibaka and the Thunder but it shows to have a great benefit to both parties. Serge Ibaka can get the role that he wants with the young and talented Orlando Magic. On the other hand, the acquisition of Victor Oladipo can fill up the need of the Thunder since he was known to be a two-way two-guard.
Ernes Kanter can start in place of Serge Ibaka. He has proven that he can be a starter in the recent playoffs being a great tandem with Steve Adams in both ends. If the Thunder succeed to re-sign Kevin Durant, chances are, they will be one of the teams that can be a title contender from the Western Conference next season.
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