The Oklahoma City Thunder have officially traded Serge Ibaka to the Orlando Magic. For Frank Vogel, the new head coach of Orlando, the arrival of Ibaka will greatly improve the team's defensive plays.
The trade was formally confirmed by Rob Hennigan, the general manager of Magic. The GM is confident that Ibaka's experience playing in the playoffs with teammates Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook will help the roster in its performance next season.
"Serge is a young veteran who brings tremendous athleticism and toughness to our frontcourt," Hennigan said in a statement according to ESPN. "His tireless work ethic and wealth of playoff experience will help enhance our culture and roster."
"We thank Victor [Oladipo] for all his contributions both on the court and in the community," he added. "We wish him and Ersan [Ilyasova] the best of luck in the future."
As noted by Hennigan, Oladipo and Ilyasova were traked to OKC in exchange for Ibaka. But aside from these two players, Orlando also gave up the draft rights to No. 11 pick Domantas Sabonis to OKC.
Ibaka officially joined the Thunder in 2009 and despite being a rookie in the professional league, he was selected as a starter for the team. Throughout his career in the NBA and with OKC, Ibaka has proven that he is a versatile player. In fact, for four straight seasons, he led the league in blocks. But aside from his defensive play, he also became known for his outside shooting.
However, despite being a valuable asset to the team, Ibaka reportedly became unhappy with his reduced role and responsibilities in OKC, CBS Sports noted. This is probably one of the main reasons why he was traded to another team.
Vogel, who became the coach of Orlando in May after his contract with the Indiana Pacers did not get renewed, noted that Ibaka is the type of player that the team needs for the upcoming season.
"The defense 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 leaf shot-blocker," he said in a statement.
"The was the NBA is going, defense versatility is huge."