OKC Thunder: Who is better for the Thunder — Serge Ibaka or LaMarcus Aldridge?

Take Ibaka all the way. Despite his shortcomings, Ibaka is still younger, cheaper and more battle tested than Aldridge.
by Darnell Mayberry Published: August 25, 2013
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photo - Portland Trail Blazers forward LaMarcus Aldridge (12) is fouled by Oklahoma City Thunder forward Serge Ibaka (9) during the first quarter of an NBA basketball game in Oklahoma City, Sunday, March 24, 2013. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki) ORG XMIT: OKSO103
Portland Trail Blazers forward LaMarcus Aldridge (12) is fouled by Oklahoma City Thunder forward Serge Ibaka (9) during the first quarter of an NBA basketball game in Oklahoma City, Sunday, March 24, 2013. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki) ORG XMIT: OKSO103

One of those intriguing trade ideas that steal our attention in these stale summer months gained a bit of steam recently.

At some point, someone suggested the Thunder sends Serge Ibaka to Portland for LaMarcus Aldridge.

Little by little, the idea began to spread. One prominent writer after another, it seemed, jumped on board the belief that Aldridge would be the final piece to the Thunder's championship puzzle.

Their logic never really made much sense.

And here's why.

Ibaka, despite his shortcomings, still is younger, cheaper and more battle tested than Aldridge.

Aldridge just turned 28. Ibaka will be 24 when the season begins.

Aldridge will make nearly $15 million this season. Ibaka will be closer to $12 million.

Aldridge has appeared in 18 playoff games and never made it out of the first round. Ibaka has appeared in 54 playoff games, experienced the conference finals twice and the NBA Finals once.

At this point in their careers, Aldridge is the better player. Few would debate that. But what the popular ESPN Trade Machine can't take into account is fit.

Aldridge has averaged better than 21 points in each of the last three seasons. But he also averaged at least 17 shots in each of those seasons, putting him on par with Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant's volume. In Oklahoma City, Aldridge would have to adjust to being third banana after years of being the go-to guy.

The Miami Heat, for comparison's sake, got 17.8 shots per game from LeBron James last year, 15.8 per game from Dwyane Wade and 12.3 per game from Chris Bosh.


by Darnell Mayberry
OKC Thunder Senior Reporter
Darnell Mayberry grew up in Langston, Okla. and is now in his third stint in the Sooner state. After a year and a half at Bishop McGuinness High, he finished his prep years in Falls Church, Va., before graduating from Norfolk State University in...
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