Unless you’ve been living under a rock the last week and a half, you’re probably aware that the Thunder traded Serge Ibaka to the Orlando Magic. In return, OKC received Victor Oladipo, Ersan Ilyasova, and the rights to Domantas Sabonis who was picked 11th overall in the 2016 draft.
Serge Ibaka has had a huge impact in Oklahoma City over the last seven years. He was a major key to the finals run that the Thunder made in 2012. However, his performance on the court is not what it had been in previous years. His defensive presence was greatly missed this last season, especially during the playoffs. With his efficiency on the decline, a trade for a younger, more efficient Oladipo seems like the right move.
Victor Oladipo is a shooting guard who will be entering his fourth year in the NBA next season. He averaged 16 points, 3.9 assists, and 4.8 rebounds per game last season. Not only does he bring a higher player efficiency rating, he seems like the answer to Golden State’s “small ball”. Having Oladipo at the shooting guard will allow Oklahoma City to have another perimeter scoring threat on offense.
What does this trade mean for Oklahoma City? It is a huge pitch to keep Kevin Durant. Durant has made it clear that the players around him will be a huge part of his decision. Without a pick in this year’s draft, the Thunder had to make a move. Bringing in an answer to Golden State, and scoring threat like Oladipo, means a better chance for KD to stay in OKC. When The Washington Post’s Tim Bontemps asked about the trade Durant said, “It’s a good move”. He went on to say, “I like Oladipo. He’s a good buddy, a friend of mine, and I’m definitely going to miss playing with Serge. He contributed so much to our organization and to the city, and he’s a pioneer for what he’s done for us and it’s always going to be remembered in OKC what he’s done for the community and his hard work on the court, so we wish him the best.”
Kevin Durant seems to be very pleased with the move made by the Thunder. He also sounds like he is leaning towards staying in OKC with his comments on the situation. At the end of the day, it’s unfortunate that “Air Congo” is flying to Orlando, but, if this is what it takes to keep Durant, isn’t it all worth it?
Article written by Craig Hofeld. Follow @thethunderguys on Twitter.