Report: Thunder Shopping Serge Ibaka
Is Serge on his way out of OKC?
With tonight’s NBA Draft quickly approaching, and many teams already active on the trade market, rumors are beginning to surface out of Oklahoma City. While fans have long been open to trading Serge Ibaka, we had yet to see any sort of indication the Thunder organization was considering it. That may have just changed.
ESPN’s Marc Spears is reporting OKC is “shopping” Ibaka ahead of tonight’s draft. While this is could be rumor, formality, or a mixture of both, it’s interesting to see the Thunder’s name come up in such a splashy way. There’s no doubt trading Ibaka would send ripples throughout the NBA — even though we have no idea what it would take for GM Sam Presti to pull the trigger on any deal involving the Congolese big man.
Ibaka is entering the final season of his contract, and scheduled to make $12.3 million next season. With the salary cap expected to jump to unprecedented levels next summer, it’s no secret Serge is in line for a major pay raise. With a team that can expect to be shoveling loads of cash toward Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, Steven Adams and Enes Kanter, perhaps Ibaka is the odd man out. Especially when you factor in the lowered levels of production the team has gotten out of him in the past two seasons.
But despite his dip in production, Ibaka is still an elite defender with an improving offensive repertoire. His ineffectiveness rebounding the basketball is frustrating — as is his recent affinity for camping out near the three point line on offense. But Serge is still a core member of a team that was 5 minutes from the NBA Finals, and his presence would certainly be missed. Dealing him could bring about a number of complications — including Durant himself sensing a reconstruction and quickly leaving town.
We’ll keep you posted as this develops throughout the day, although I certainly don’t feel as though a deal is imminent or even likely. But sometimes where there’s smoke, there’s fire — and things are beginning to sizzle in Oklahoma City.
We’ll keep track of developments below throughout the rest of the day.