The Oklahoma City Thunder have traded big man Serge Ibaka to the Orlando Magic.
Oklahoma City will receive Victor Oladipo, Ersan Ilyasova, and the rights to Domantas Sabonis in return for Ibaka. Sabonis was selected with the 11th overall pick in the 2016 NBA Draft by Orlando on Thursday night. Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical first reported the transaction.
A look at Ibaka
Rumors of the Thunder shopping Ibaka were amplified just hours prior to the start of the Draft. With lots of big-money contracts to pay in the near future, Oklahoma City was eager to explore what kind of package they could get in exchange for the explosive Congolese forward.
Ibaka, 26, was taken 24th in the 2008 NBA Draft and has become a key cog in OKC's rotation. His elite inside presence helped the Thunder get to three Western Conference Finals and the 2012 NBA Finals. He averaged 12.6 points, 6.8 rebounds, and 1.9 blocks during the 2015-16 campaign.
The return package
On the other end of this deal, GM Sam Presti has acquired a trio of very valuable assets, starting with 2013 second overall pick Victor Oladipo. The 24-year-old combo guard has played just three NBA seasons and holds career averages of 15.9 points per game, 4.4 rebounds per game, 4.0 assists per game, and 1.6 steals per game.
Domantas Sabonis, son of NBA Hall of Famer Arvydas Sabonis, had a dominant two-year collegiate career at Gonzaga, earning Second-Team All-American honors in 2016. He averaged a monster double-double of 17.6 points per game and 11.8 rebounds per game inside for the Bulldogs, leading the team to the Sweet 16 of the 2016 NCAA Tournament.
Ilyasova, the last piece of this trade, is a solid veteran forward and role player. He has hit double-digits in scoring most years and brings a career average of 6.0 rebounds per game to the table for OKC. Replacing Ibaka, this combination of the potential-filled Sabonis and a proven player in Ilyasova is a great option, now that the team rotation will shift regarding the addition of Oladipo and the potential loss of Kevin Durant.
Knowing the importance of this offseason for the Thunder, this move must have been a very calculated one by Presti and the front office in Oklahoma City. Let's see how it plays out and affects the futures of Durant and current Thunder two-guard Dion Waiters.