IMPACT: Oklahoma City Thunder and Orlando Magic Land Blockbuster Trade

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Updated: June 28, 2016

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Coming into the NBA Draft on Thursday the Oklahoma City Thunder didn’t have a draft pick. The Thunder made it very clear that they were going to be aggressive on Draft night. The Thunder placed Serge Ibaka on the trading block as it sent the Thunder fan base into a frenzy. Thunder fans are always willing to make a trade but they were hesitant when they heard who may be gone. Serge Ibaka has played his whole career in OKC and was the reason they passed on bringing James Harden back. If the Thunder fans were to part ways with Ibaka they wanted something of that stature to come back in return.

As the NBA Draft had started there was a lot of chitter chat about teams reaching out to OKC about the services of Serge Ibaka. The team that first took a look at Serge Ibaka was the Toronto Raptors as they were willing to part the 9th overall pick in the 2016 NBA Draft for Serge Ibaka. The Oklahoma City Thunder declined that trade faster than a cheetah in a race. After that trade was declined everyone thought that OKC wasn’t going to make a move at all. Then comes the 11th pick of the NBA Draft and it was the Orlando Magic’s turn to pick. The Orlando Magic selected Domantas Sabonis from the University of Gonzaga. Domantas Sabonis averaged 18 ppg and 12 rpg in college and caught the eye of the Oklahoma City Thunder. The Magic reached out to the Thunder about a potential trade for Serge Ibaka.

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The Thunder were left in a position to make a move to help their organization get better with Kevin Durant becoming a free agent and went for it. The Thunder accepted the trade between the two and they made it official right away. Victor Oladipo, forward Ersan Ilyasova and the draft rights to forward Domantas Sabonis from the Orlando Magic in exchange for forward Serge Ibaka. This was a tough one for the Thunder fans because Ibaka has played a huge role in their success. The two players in this trade that will stand out are Ibaka and Oladipo. Below is a comparison of their stats over the last season.

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This trade came as a surprise to everyone and it was a trade that the Thunder had to make. Sometimes when you have your back against the wall and your best player can leave you make moves just to make them. Victor Oladipo is a great two way player who can score and defend with the best of them. The issue is Oladipo is used to being the man in Orlando and when he touches down in OKC he will be considered a great role player. Oladipo was taking 15 shots per game in Orlando and he definitely won’t be able to get those same shots in OKC. Adding Oladipo to the equation will help Russell Westbrook out big time because that gives him the chance to play off the ball if needed.

The Thunder showed a lot of faith in Steven Adams with this trade being made but it also puts Kanter in a tough position because he will have to defend better. The Thunder lost a great defender in Serge Ibaka and it will take a team effort in order to make it very impactful on the defensive end. Serge Ibaka was a huge piece of this Thunder puzzle and they hope that Oladipo can be that and more. Thunder fans will want Victor Oladipo to be the next coming of James Harden but he’s younger and he’s still trying to grow.

The Thunder made the move and have to live with it. Sam Presti wanted to be aggressive and its rightfully so because Serge Ibaka did voice his opinion on not getting as money touches. Speaking of touches I want to see how Westbrook and Victor Oladpio will mesh together on the court. This year training camp will be very special and Thunder fans are hoping and praying Kevin Durant will be there as well.

Photo Credit: WelcomeToLoudCity, BasketballInsiders.com

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