Oklahoma City Thunder roundtable: Evaluating Serge Ibaka's season

The Oklahoman's staff writers discuss three questions about Serge Ibaka's season.
by Darnell Mayberry Published: May 25, 2013
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photo - Oklahoma City's Serge Ibaka (9) reacts during Game 5 in the second round of the NBA playoffs between the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Memphis Grizzlies at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Wednesday, May 15, 2013. Photo by Sarah Phipps, The Oklahoman
Oklahoma City's Serge Ibaka (9) reacts during Game 5 in the second round of the NBA playoffs between the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Memphis Grizzlies at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Wednesday, May 15, 2013. Photo by Sarah Phipps, The Oklahoman

Tramel: I'm not buying it, but mostly because of the issues beyond Ibaka's control. It's hard for three players from the same team to make the All-Star team, especially in the Western Conference. Politically, it's hard to get three guys from the same roster on the squad. And the West is loaded with good players. In the East, sure. The East is scouring box scores, looking for a decent player to anoint an all-star. But the West has tons of great candidates. A typical West dilemma is choosing between someone like Zach Randolph and LaMarcus Aldridge.

3. Would the Thunder have been better off ponying up for James Harden and letting Ibaka walk?

Mayberry: In the short term, yes. In the long run, no. Harden is a much more polished player than Ibaka and could have given the Thunder a couple of years of the best trio in basketball. It would have been a three-headed monster most teams would not have been able to defend. But three max contracts on the same team has quickly become a fading format thanks to the league's more punitive rules. So the window would have been open for roughly two years and then the Thunder, in all likelihood, would have lost both Harden and Ibaka — possibly for nothing in return.

Rohde: No. You already have two of the league's premier scorers. Shooting guards are plentiful, but 23-year-old shot blockers, with a velvet jump shot who can run like a gazelle are not easy to find.

Tramel: No. The Thunder tried to sign both and even offered Harden more than what Ibaka signed for. But Harden said no. But now Ibaka is signed for $12.25 million a year, which is a lot of money to pay for your No. 3 player but still acceptable for an all-star caliber talent.

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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