NBA

Serge Ibaka.

Oklahoma City Thunder trade Serge Ibaka to the Orlando Magic

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Barely a day after we've had time to digest the Derrick Rose trade from the Chicago Bulls to the New York Knicks we've been hit with another big move in the NBA.

As reported first by Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical, the Oklahoma City Thunder has agreed a deal to trade power forward Serge Ibaka to the Orlando Magic. 

The deal sees the Thunder receive Victor Oladipo, Ersan Ilyasova and the 11th pick in the draft Domantas Sabonis. 

Ibaka has spent his entire seven-year NBA career with OKC since they drafted him from Spain in 2009. 

Alongside Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook he was a key player for the franchise throughout that period. 

The 26-year-old helped guide the Thunder to the Finals in 2012 and created a reputation for himself as one of the premier shot blockers in the league and led that category in both 2012 and 2013.

Per Yahoo Sports, Ibaka will be a free agent at the end of next season, and Thunder officials decided within the past week to assess his value on the trade market.

The Congolese-Spanish forward averaged 12.6 points, 6.8 rebounds, and 1.9 blocks this season as OKC reached the Western Conference Finals.

The decision to part with the All-Defensive player comes just a week before Durant enters free agency and it remains to be seen if this deal impacts his decision. 

“Tonight represented an opportunity to build the versatility, depth and skill of our basketball team," Thunder general manager Sam Presti said.  

"Victor, Ersan and Domantas represent the character, work ethic and toughness that we relentlessly pursue with the Thunder. Through the continued emergence and development of our core, we were able to capitalise on the opportunity to acquire three highly skilled professionals.”

Speaking on Ibaka, Presti added: “I want to acknowledge Serge for his contributions to the ongoing legacy of the Thunder. He has been integral to our success and growth, has been a great community member and we wish him only the best.”

In Oladipo they pick up a talented young guard who can either start at the shooting guard position or provide some quality off the bench. This year he averaged 16 points, 4.8 rebounds, and 3.9 assists in 33 minutes per game.

Oklahoma City Thunder v Golden State Warriors - Game One

Three-point specialist Ilyasova will add more perimeter shooting and space the floor while Lithuanian-born rookie Sabonis - son of Hall of Famer Arvydas - has a lot of promise.

But the move will significantly impact OKC on the defensive end as Ibaka was their rim protector and most elite defender. 

This is where the Magic will benefit, though. They have been desperate to bring in a big man who can provide some rim protection and they have managed to strike a deal for one of the best in the game.

Ibaka's versatility in shot-blocking, defence, and outside shooting will make him a perfect player to partner young center Nikola Vucevic.

Orlando Magic v Dallas Mavericks

He will provide a boost to new coach Frank Vogel's hopes of making the playoffs next year with his young squad. The challenge for Orlando, however, will be to convince Serge to commit to Florida for the long term.

"The defence we played at Indiana that we hope to bring here to Orlando is predicated on having a guy like Serge Ibaka that can protect the rim and be that lead shot-blocker," said coach Frank Vogel, who joined the Magic last month. "The way the NBA is going, defensive versatility is huge."

With two major trades now completed before we've even entered free agency, this could just be the start of a big offseason and we'll be in for a very interesting week ahead.

Topics:
Eastern Conference
NBA
Northwest Division
Western Conference
Victor Oladipo
Orlando Magic
Southeast Division
Kevin Durant
Oklahoma City Thunder
Serge Ibaka

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