The Oklahoma City Thunder have placed Serge Ibaka on the trade block and could move the power forward ahead of Thursday’s deadline, per latest NBA Trade Rumors.
According to sources close to the Thunder, the shot-blocking Congolese can be had with the proverbial “right deal”. One source suggested that the Thunder are looking for a wing defender and move Kevin Durant to the 4 spot – opening up the floor for more perimeter shooters.
Ibaka’s numbers have dipped considerably this season. The 6’10 forward is averaging only 6.7 rebounds and 2.2. blocks (compared to his career averages of 7.4 and 2.5). Also, Ibaka is no longer able to protect the rim in ways which made him a perineal Defensive Player of the Year contender.
For many years, the OKC built their team around the “Big 3” of Ibaka, Durant and Russell Westbrook. All three players were considered franchise cornerstones. However, Ibaka has lost the “untouchable tag” and no longer warrants the same adulation of fans at Chesapeake Energy Arena.
Johnson and Ilyasova for Ibaka?
Since Ibaka still has a year left on his contract, a team willing to trade for him would secure a future power forward until the end of the 2016-17 season. Since the Thunder are looking for an athletic guard to man the perimeter along with Andre Roberson, here is an interesting trade: Detroit Pistons could package rookie Stanley Johnson and stretch 4 Ersan İlyasova for Ibaka.
ESPN Trade Machine approves this hypothetical trade. The Pistons would shore up its defense with a front court pairing of Andre Drummond and Ibaka. The Thunder would benefit from the services of a young Johnson – who has three years left on his rookie contract. Also, İlyasova will help fill the void left by Ibaka, at least on the offensive end, since he’s a stretch 4 just like the Congolese.
Where will Serge Ibaka land? Will Thunder make the move before it’s too late?
Stay tuned for latest NBA Trade Rumors.