ESPN is reporting that NBA blocks leader Serge Ibaka has agreed to a four-year, $48 million extension with the Oklahoma City Thunder.
With the signing, Ibaka, who was all set to become a free agent following the 2012-13 season, becomes the third prominent OKC player to agree to an extension of his rookie contract.
All-Stars Kevin Durant (five years, $94 million through 2015-16) and Russell Westbrook (five years, $78.6 million through 2016-17) previously agreed to maximum deals under the league’s collective bargaining agreement, NewsOK.com notes.
“We are very excited that Serge will continue as a core member of the Thunder for years to come,” general manager Sam Presti said.
Drafted in 2008 with the 24th overall pick, the 22-year-old Ibaka has averaged has averaged 8.5 points, 6.9 rebounds, 2.4 blocks in his three seasons as a professional basketball player.
In 2012, Serge shot 53% from the field while averaging 9.1 points, 7.5 rebounds and a career-high 3.7 blocks per contest. He named to the NBA All-Defensive First Team for his efforts.
Born in the Republic of Congo, the 6-foot-10 Ibaka gained citizenship in Spain last year and won a silver playing for that country’s national team at the Olympic Games in London this summer.
NBA.com writes that the Thunder will hold a press conference upon Ibaka’s return to Oklahoma City, following his participation in a youth basketball camp he is hosting in his native Republic of Congo and the Basketball Without Borders initiative with Thunder teammates Cole Aldrich and Hasheem Thabeet in Johannesburg, South Africa.
With Ibaka, Westbrook and Durant all coming back for the 2013-2014 NBA season, the Thunder will now undoubtedly focus their efforts on resigning 2012 Sixth Man of The year winner James Harden.