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#pounditTuesday, October 3, 2023

Victor Oladipo, Domantas Sabonis to Thunder in Serge Ibaka trade

Serge Ibaka

The Orlando Magic and Oklahoma City Thunder delivered one of the biggest blockbusters on draft day, as they agreed to a large deal that sends Serge Ibaka to the Magic for three players.

The Vertical’s Adrian Wojnarowski says the Magic are sending Victor Oladipo, Ersan Ilyasova, and draft pick Domantas Sabonis to Oklahoma City in exchange for Ibaka.

There were rumors earlier on Thursday that the Thunder were making Ibaka available in trades.

Ibaka, 27 in September, will be a free agent after next season, which makes the move somewhat risky for the Magic. But if he shines in Orlando playing without Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant for the first time in his career, he could end up signing a long-term deal with them and becoming a franchise player.

This move is also risky for the Thunder. Not only are they breaking up a core that has led them to success the past several seasons, but they are also doing so at a critical time for their franchise. Kevin Durant is a free agent and his decision to remain with OKC could be influenced by this trade. Westbrook will also be a free agent after next season.

Are the Thunder doing this to increase their chances of retaining Durant and Westbrook? Or is this protection in case they lose one or both players? Or maybe they just made the deal to get some strong value in return for Ibaka, likely knowing they wouldn’t be able to keep him beyond next season:

Oladipo should slide into the shooting guard spot for OKC and give them a really nice option. The former No. 2 overall pick in the draft averaged 16 points per game last season. His addition likely means the Thunder will not match offer sheets for Dion Waiters this offseason.


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