Monday, August 27, 2012

Thunder tie down Ibaka to new deal

The Oklahoma City Thunder have secured the services of Serge Ibaka on a new four-year contract extension, rewarding the 23-year old following a sensational season, in which the Spaniard finished top of the NBA blocks standings.

The signing of Ibaka to a new deal ensures another of the Thunder’s key stars will be in the team going into the future, proving Oklahoma are determined to keep their place as title challengers.

Ibaka’s signature also ends a number of NBA rumours linking the player to other basketball teams. 

The Thunder reached the NBA Finals last season, losing to a sensational Miami Heat side, and there is plenty of pressure of general manager, Sam Presti, to keep the squad together for another real crack at going one step further this year.

Ibaka was certainly essential to the Thunder’s success last season, blocking at least 10 shots on three occasions last year to finish top of the block charts.

That defensive form eventually saw Ibaka go on to earn his place in the NBA All-Defensive Team at the end of the season, proving just how influential the youngster was to the Thunder’s achievements last year.

General manager, Presti, admitted that the Thunder had been desperate to tie Ibaka down to a new deal, well aware that there is still plenty of growth and improvements yet to come from the 23-year old.

He will return to the Thunder will an Olympic silver medal in his collection from the summer in London following his exploits for the Spanish team.

"At 23 years old (by the time next season starts), we really do expect his best basketball to be in front of him," Presti said.

"He does so many things. Obviously, his shot-blocking is a statistic that's most pointed to because it's objective, because it's measurable, but there's a lot of things he does for us in terms of just, I would say, deterring shots."

"He really helps our pick-and-roll defence and bails us out a lot of times." Fans thinking of placing a bet on NBA should make sure that they take account of Ibaka’s defensive forte when gambling against OKC.

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