Serge Ibaka.

Serge Ibaka is relishing the prospect of leading the Orlando Magic

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Hot on the heels of the blockbuster Derrick Rose to the New York Knicks trade, the Oklahoma City Thunder revealed their hand in a clear attempt to convince Kevin Durant to stick with the only franchise he has ever known in free agency.

The Western Conference finalists moved Serge Ibaka to the Orlando Magic and got Victor Oladipo, Ersan Ilyasova and the draft rights to Domantas Sabonis, the 11th pick of the 2016 NBA draft in return.

That's a very good exchange for the Thunder, and the backcourt of Oladipo and Russell Westbrook is enough to make any fan salivate. The sheer athleticism between the pair is crazy, but if they retain Durant too, then the balance they could strike up with Enes Kanter and Steven Adams is scary.

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However, the Magic moved a lot to get Ibaka and there is good reason why. The Congo-born power forward is still only 26-years-old and is one of the best shot blockers in the league.

He has an inside presence that is more than battle tested and he has been to the playoffs in six of his seven seasons in the NBA. More often than not, Ibaka has been a part of a deep run in the west, so the Magic can justifiably feel the big man is just what their young and talented lineup was missing.

Ibaka said on Thursday at a news conference that he was delighted to be in Orlando.

"One of things that made me feel good at that moment was Dad texted me," Ibaka said. "Before I could get excited and happy, my dad was happy. He congratulated me and said he was real happy for me. That's what changed everything at the moment.

Oklahoma City Thunder v Orlando Magic

"This is a business, and things happen for a reason. So I'm happy to be here and for my family and for my daughter."

Head coach Frank Vogel, who was hired by the Magic last month after coaching the Indiana Pacers, believes Ibaka can help make the Magic a viable playoff threat.

"Serge Ibaka is such an important piece to taking this organisation to where we want to take it, to become a defensive monster, be one of the best defensive teams in the league," said Vogel. "We are going to preach defense as much as I always have. But you have to have the people that can get the job done."

Los Angeles Lakers v Oklahoma City Thunder

The Spanish international - owing to his residence in the country as a teenager - is clearly buzzing to start his new adventure in Orlando and the feeling of being wanted cannot be underestimated.

"It feels good," said Ibaka. "I feel like my first year in the league; I'm that excited. I'm looking forward to the new challenge. I know it's not going to be easier. That's how we become great when we beat the challenges in front of you."

Aaron Gordon
Orlando Magic
Southeast Division
Eastern Conference
Serge Ibaka
Oklahoma City Thunder
Northwest Division
Western Conference
Nikola Vucevic
Russell Westbrook
Kevin Durant

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