Ibaka was unhappy in OKC, likely would have left as UFA
One of the few but surprising trades that happened this week was when the Thunder sent Serge Ibaka in a swap for three Orlando Magic players Victor Oladipo, Ersan Ilyasova, and rookie Domantas Sabonis, on Thursday.
The Thunder had just come off of a long run in the playoffs, and almost eliminating the Warriors, but blew a 3-1 lead in Game 7.
It doesn’t seem logical to start changing a team one game away from the NBA Finals, but there was more trouble than previously known.
Ibaka had become unhappy with his role with the team, although he didn’t display that he had an issue on the court.
In his end of the season exit interview, he told reporters he would rather not talk about next years free agency, because he wasn’t leaving the Thunder and therefore had nothing to say.
The Thunder had concerns Ibaka would demand a trade next season or better yet, leave without resigning, so they decided now was the time to pull the trigger, because they have to convince Kevin Durant to re-sign, and next season the same for Russell Westbrook.
Trading the 26 year old Ibaka has been controversial in NBA circles, and the internet, but Ibaka will get a fresh start on his own terms, regardless if he decides to remain in Orlando or leave at the end of next season.
His shot blocking presence will be missed in Oklahoma City, and Orlando just brought tough rim protection to the team.
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