Oklahoma City Thunder Trade Serge Ibaka In Fair Deal With Orlando Magic

Nicholas Sciria

Although the Oklahoma City Thunder received a hefty package in return for Serge Ibaka, including Victor Oladipo, Ersan Ilyasova, and Domantas Sabonis, the trade with the Orlando Magic was not the fleecing that some people believe. The loss of Ibaka will leave the Thunder with challenging lineup decisions, and Oladipo's fit next to Russell Westbrook is hardly certain.

An Ibaka trade was fairly inevitable, as Ibaka voiced his frustrations in Oklahoma City this past March, according to the Vertical.

"It's hard sometimes when you play so hard on defense, then you come to offense and you're going to be out there in the corner for four, five, six, sometimes eight minutes and you don't touch the ball."

In return, Oklahoma City received Oladipo, whose fit next to Russell Westbrook is questionable at best. Oladipo is more effective with the ball in his hands, which will not be a common occurrence with the Thunder. It is possible that Oladipo will spend time as the primary ball handler with bench units, but his primary role will be as an off-ball guard next to Westbrook in Oklahoma City's main lineup. Of course, Oladipo will get better looks in catch-and-shoot situations with the Thunder, and he has improved his three-point shooting in all three of his years in the NBA. Still, if his outlier season in college is ignored, he has never been an above-average shooter.

"Oklahoma City's non-Durant options at power forward all lack something. Kanter and Ilyasova struggle defending the perimeter. Roberson can't shoot, and in Oladipo, the Thunder have found yet another shaky long-range option opponents will happily leave open -- and another guy who needs the ball. (He's also due a big raise after this season, though he won't earn as much as Ibaka). Assume 30-plus minutes for Adams, and a lot of Thunder lineups would feature four so-so shooters around Durant."

Ultimately, the final judgement of this trade will come when Ibaka's contract situation is shored up and Oladipo's fit next to Westbrook is observed.

[Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images]

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