OKC Thunder confirms Serge Ibaka has agreed to terms on extension

SERGE IBAKA -- The Thunder power forward's new contract extension is worth a reported $48 million over four years.
By John Rohde Modified: August 18, 2012 at 12:14 pm •  Published: August 18, 2012
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Serge Ibaka traveled far to get to where he arrived Saturday. It has been a journey as long as his given name.

Sergeballu LaMu Sayonga Loom Walahas Jonas Hugo Ibaka.

Drafted as a 19-year-old with the 24th pick in the 2008 NBA Draft, Ibaka joined the Thunder for the 2009-10 season following a year of pro ball in Spain. He was 6,000 miles away from his native Republic of Congo and barely spoke a word of English when he arrived in OKC.

On Saturday, Ibaka validated his skyrocketing league status when he agreed to a four-year extension with the Thunder. According to Yahoo! Sports, the deal is worth $48 million.

Thunder general manager Sam Presti repeatedly has said new contracts are based on anticipated achievements, not past results. Ibaka's bump in pay is significant, and so are Presti's expectations.

“We expect him and our other players to continually improve in all facets,” Presti said. “I think for us, to continue to evolve as a team, we're going to have to expect more production from Serge over a period of time.”

Ibaka, who turns 23 years old on Sept. 18, will make roughly five times his current salary of $2,253,061 when the extension commences next season.

“At 23 years old, we really do expect his best basketball to be in front of him,” Presti said. “This is about future performance and what we anticipate to be the continued growth as a player.”

There certainly is room to grow for the 6-foot-10, 235-pound Ibaka, although he did finish second in voting for NBA Defensive Player of the Year last season while leading the league in blocked shots at 3.7 per game, 107 more blocks than his closest competitor.

He was chosen to the league's All-Defensive first team and has career averages of 8.5 points, 6.9 rebounds and 2.4 blocks while shooting 54.0 percent from the field.

“He has a tremendous and consistent work ethic that is driven by internal discipline and focus that you see in high potential people,” Presti said. “He is an elite competitor and someone with great determination. If you know his history you know that nothing has ever been handed to him and all the traits that I mentioned have helped improve and drive him through the ups and downs that all pro athletes have to go through.”

Presti certainly was undeterred to get the deal done. He spoke in a teleconference call Saturday that ended around 3 p.m., just two hours before he married Shannon O'Connor in a private wedding ceremony in OKC.

Ibaka becomes the third prominent OKC player to agree to a rookie contract extension. All-Stars Kevin Durant (five years, $94 million through 2015-16) and Russell Westbrook (five years, $78.6 million through 2016-17) previously agreed to maximum deals under the league's collective bargaining agreement. Also up for rookie contract extensions are Thunder guards James Harden ($5,820,417 this season) and Eric Maynor ($2,338,721), who will become restricted free agents next summer if they do not agree to extensions by the league's Oct. 31 deadline.

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POWER FORWARD/CENTER PAY SCALE

Serge Ibaka has agreed to terms on a four-year extension with the Thunder reportedly worth $48 million, starting with the 2013-14 season. Here are NBA power forwards/centers under contract who in 2013-14 will have salaries in close proximity to Ibaka's $12 million average.

Kevin Love (Minnesota), $14,693,906

Brook Lopez (Brooklyn), $14,693,906

Emeka Okafor (Washington), $14,544,687

Roy Hibbert (Indiana), $14,283,844

Luol Deng (Chicago), $14,275,000

Tyson Chandler (New York), $14,100,537

David Lee (Golden State), $13,878,000

Nene' (Washington), $13,000,000

Kris Humphries (Brooklyn), $12,000,000

Joakim Noah (Chicago), $11,100,000

DeAndre Jordan (LA Clippers), $10,986,550

JaVale McGee (Denver), $10,750,000

Tim Duncan (San Antonio), $10,361,446

Gerald Wallace (Brooklyn), $10,105,885

Top earners (2012-13)

1. Dirk Nowitzki (Dallas) $20,907,128; 2. Amar'e Stoudamire (New York) $19,948,799; 3. Dwight Howard (LA Lakers) $19,261,200; 4. Pau Gasol (LA Lakers) $19,000,000; 5. Elton Brand (Philadelphia/Dallas) x-$18,160,354.

x-Includes amnesty payoff of $16,060,354 with the Sixers.

Source: HoopsHype

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