NBA Trades: Orlando Magic Acquire Oklahoma City Thunder Forward Serge Ibaka In Blockbuster Trade

Oklahoma City Thunder forward Serge Ibaka is headed to the Orlando Magic after a blockbuster deal was struck by the two teams during the 2016 NBA Draft. There had been rumors swirling throughout the day that the Thunder were looking to deal Ibaka, but it seemed like just talk until about 9 p.m. ET, when the trade was announced on Twitter, via Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical and Yahoo! Sports.

The Thunder will receive guard Victor Oladipo, forward Ersan Ilyasova, and the No. 11 overall pick in the 2016 NBA Draft, Domantas Sabonis, out of Gonzaga, according to ESPN.

The Magic finished the 2015-16 season with a disappointing 35-47 record despite entering the year with expectations of making the playoffs. Head coach Scott Skiles jumped ship following his one season with the team which led to the hiring of former Indiana Pacers coach Frank Vogel. While Vogel will certainly help, Magic general manager Rob Hennigan knew that he also must address the roster which led to the Ibaka deal.

It’ll be interesting to see how the starting lineup develops for the Magic heading into the 2016-17 season. It seemed as if Nikola Vucevic and Aaron Gordon were locked in as the two starters up front, but now with Ibaka in the mix, Gordon will either move to the bench or Vogel could try to move him to small forward because of his athleticism, but he must develop a better jumper in order to fit at that position.

Trading Oladipo in the deal for Ibaka was a bit of a shock for the Magic. He averaged 16 points, 4.8 rebounds, and 3.9 assists per game last season and is considered to be one of the best perimeter defenders in the league. It would seem that at 24-years-old, Oladipo would be the type of player a team would build around, but the Magic have always been high on Elfrid Payton, and seem ready to turn the team over to the 22-year-old.

Last season, Payton averaged 10.7 points, 6.4 assists, and 3.6 rebounds as he averaged 29.4 minutes per game. His scoring and shooting numbers went up last season, but both his assists and rebounds were down a bit. If the Magic are truly in “win now” mode, Oladipo would’ve seemed like the better player to hold on to, but perhaps the Thunder wouldn’t have traded Ibaka in a deal involving Payton.

From the Thunder’s perspective, trading Ibaka seems like an awfully risky decision. The team had the Golden State Warriors on the ropes in the Western Conference Finals and were only one win away from making it to the NBA Finals. There seemed to be one more chance at a championship run left in this current roster, but the trade of Ibaka signals that general manager Sam Presti doesn’t believe a title is in the cards for next season.

It will also be interesting to see how the Serge Ibaka trade affects the Thunder’s chances of re-signing free agent Kevin Durant. Most experts feel like the Thunder are the most likely destination for the top free agent on the market, but trading Ibaka could upset Durant. It’s also possible that Durant has been in contact with the team and approved of this deal. Either way, the Ibaka trade will have a major impact on what happens with Durant.

In the end, there are a lot more questions than answers for both of these teams after this trade, but that’s what makes the NBA offseason so exciting. Who do you think won this deal? Let us know in the comments section.

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