Reports indicate that the OKC Thunder are trading Serge Ibaka to the Orlando Magic for Victor Oladipo, Ersan Ilyasova and the No. 11 draft pick in tonight’s NBA Draft, Arvydas Sabonis.
While Oladipo is a bonafide NBA starter who was picked No. 2 overall by the Magic in 2013, it’s Sabonis’ acquisition that gives the Thunder an extra tie to international stardom.
Orlando will send Victor Oladipo, Ersan Ilyasova and rights to Sabonis to the Thunder, sources said.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojVerticalNBA) June 24, 2016
At 20, Damontas Sabonis beats dad to NBA by 11 years
If you didn’t know, Damontas Sabonis is the son of Basketball Hall of Famer Arvydas Sabonis, who at one time was viewed by many as the most dominant big man in all of basketball.
Functionally, the Cold War prevented the elder Sabonis from reaching the NBA until he was 31 years old and knee injuries had inhibited the enormous man’s athleticism.
The younger Sabonis played two seasons at Gonzaga, performing well in last season’s NCAA Tournament. He is an exceptional rebounder with instinctive skills much like his father. He also has decent shooting range from the floor.
Victor Oladipo a two-way player
Trading for Victor Oladipo lands the Thunder an established two-way player, as analysts like to call them. That means he makes an impact on both the offensive and defensive sides of the ball, and it gives OKC great flexibility whether or not Kevin Durant re-signs this offseason.
Yahoo’s Adrian Wojanarowski seems to have broken the trade news, and he has a post up already that will likely be updated. (As ours will at NonDoc.)
Ibaka led the Thunder in three-point shooting percentage this postseason, though he was criticized by sports pundits through the regular season. For years, he had been the Thunder’s primary shot blocker before also becoming arguably its best three-point shooter as well.
Sabonis will join a roster featuring emerging star Steven Adams and sixth-man-of-the-year candidate Enes Kanter. Sabonis’ game may well be a mix between the two — playing extra physically like Adams and shooting from mid-range efficiently like Kanter.
But if Sabonis can add some of the flare, excellent passing and intelligence of his father, look out, opposing big men. The Thunder will be able to pack the paint.
And, if you never saw Arvydas Sabonis play, here’s a highlight video with only moderately cheesy music:
Ilyan Ilyasova another 3-point shooter
Against the Golden State Warriors, the Thunder faced a team with a half-dozen excellent three-point shooters. In this trade, OKC relinquishes its best postseason outside threat, but the inclusion of Ilyasova brings back a player who shot 40 percent from deep last season.
No Thunder player shot 40 percent or above from three last season except Kanter, who only made 21 attempts.
Additionally, Ilyasova will pair with Kanter to give OKC two Turkish players on its roster.
No word whether rabid Thunder fans will be staking out The Raindrop for autographs.