The Oklahoma City Thunder is considering the possibility of trading veteran power forward Serge Ibaka this offseason, according to a source close to the organization.
Ibaka, 26, has been an integral part of the Thunder team that has reached four of the previous six Western Conference finals, besides an appearance in the 2012-13 NBA Finals. However, Ibaka’s overall production and effectiveness on the defensive end has steadily deteriorated in recent years.
During his seven seasons with the Thunder, Ibaka led the team with 2.5 blocks per game including a career-high 3.7 blocks in 2011-12 which nearly won him Defensive Player of the Year honors. The feeling within the team is that the emergence of Steven Adams and Enes Kanter has made Ibaka “dispensable” so long as Thunder can get an all-star calibre player in return.
By acquiring Boston’s No. 3 pick, Thunder could potentially draft Buddy Hield or Jamaal Murray to improve their perimeter shooting – something that cost them the Western Conference Finals against Golden State Warriors.
Serge Ibaka + Celtics: A good fit?
With the likes of Jared Sullinger and Amir Johnson not showing superstar potential, the Boston Celtics is desperate to shore up its front court and Ibaka could be the first step in that direction. Earlier this month, Chat Sports explored the possibility of Ibaka in Boston.
“With several draft picks and a young roster, the Boston Celtics would be an obvious fit for Ibaka. Boston, as previously discussed, has a weak front line and could really use a player of Ibaka’s caliber at the power forward position. Again, dumping Jerebko or even Amir Johnson’s $12 million salary could be possible if the Celtics are willing to give up a draft pick high enough for Oklahoma City to justify the move,” wrote reporter Ryan Davis.
Serge Ibaka will be an unrestricted free agent in the summer after the 2016-17 season. Therefore, it would make perfect sense for Thunder to trade the Congolese/Spanish star and secure a younger player.