Make us your home page
Instagram

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Ibaka gets excited about Magic

Serge Ibaka spent his first seven seasons with Oklahoma City before Orlando acquired the power forward last week in a trade on draft day.

Getty Images

Serge Ibaka spent his first seven seasons with Oklahoma City before Orlando acquired the power forward last week in a trade on draft day.

ORLANDO — A week ago after waking up in Paris to flurry of congratulatory text messages, Serge Ibaka wasn't quite sure how to feel about the NBA draft night trade that landed him in Orlando.

But one text message in particular helped him feel better about his transition from the Thunder — a team contending for an NBA championship — to a young Magic team just trying to make the postseason.

"One of things that made me feel good at that moment was dad texted me," Ibaka said Thursday a news conference. "Before I could get excited and happy, my dad was happy. He congratulated me and said he was real happy for me. That's what changed everything at the moment.

"This is a business, and things happen for a reason. So I'm happy to be here and for my family and for my daughter."

The Magic aggressively went after Ibaka, trading Victor Oladipo, Ersan Ilyasova and the rights to Domantas Sabonis (the No. 11 overall pick) for the power forward. They sought an inside presence and leadership; Ibaka, a veteran who has gone deep into the playoffs, gives them both.

Orlando hopes the 6-foot-10 Ibaka is the player it missed last season, its fourth in a row out of the playoffs. The three-time All-Defense first team member is one of the league's top shot blockers.

"Serge Ibaka is such an important piece to taking this organization to where we want to take it, to become a defensive monster, be one of the best defensive teams in the league," new Magic coach Frank Vogel said. "We are going to preach defense as much as I always have. But you have to have the people that can get the job done."

Ibaka, who wore a black T-shirt with Orlando United on front in recognition of the recent club shooting tragedy that left 50 dead and another 53 injured, said he looks forward to what will likely be an expanded role that will include being more of a leader and offensive presence as well as his defensive muscle.

"It feels good," said Ibaka, a native of Congo. "I feel like my first year in the league, I'm that excited. I'm looking forward to the new challenge. I know it's not going to be easier. That's how we become great when we beat the challenges in front of you."

Noah talking to Knicks: Bulls center and former Florida standout Joakim Noah will meet with the Knicks today, the first full day of free agency, the New York Post reported.

Cavaliers: The champions made a qualifying offer to backup point guard Matthew Dellavedova, making him a restricted free agent.

Clippers: Lawrence Frank was promoted to executive vice president of basketball operations under Doc Rivers. Frank, the former Nets and Pistons coach, spent the past two seasons as an assistant under Rivers, who is both coach and president of basketball operations.

Mavericks: Center Salah Mejri had arthroscopic surgery on his right knee, a procedure that isn't expected to sideline the 7-foot-2 Tunisian during the season.

Ibaka gets excited about Magic 06/30/16 [Last modified: Thursday, June 30, 2016 9:39pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Peter Budaj, Lightning lose to Devils in shootout; Nikita Kucherov scores

    Lightning Strikes

    NEWARK, N.J. — For Peter Budaj, Tuesday's season debut had a shaky start.

    The Lightning’s Vladislav Namestnikov, right, battles Damon Severson for the puck.
  2. Lightning's Steve Yzerman enjoying Nikita Kucherov's scoring run

    Lightning Strikes

    NEWARK, N.J. — If anyone knows what it is like to be as hot as Nikita Kucherov is right now, it's Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman.

    Tampa Bay Lightning right wing Nikita Kucherov, of Russia, celebrates after scoring a goal on the New Jersey Devils during the second period of an NHL hockey game, Tuesday, Oct. 17, 2017, in Newark, N.J. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)
  3. Bucs journal: Offense needs to get off to a faster start

    Bucs

    TAMPA — The past two games have seen the Bucs offense muster furious rallies in the fourth quarter of losses, with 229 yards against the Patriots and a franchise-record 27 points against the Cardinals.

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Dirk Koetter walks the field before an NFL game between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Arizona Cardinals at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Ariz., on Sunday, Oct. 15, 2017.
  4. NFL players, owners hold 'constructive' talks on issues

    Bucs

    NEW YORK — NFL players and owners met Tuesday to discuss social issues, a session Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross called "constructive" and Colts defensive back Darius Butler termed "positive."

    A coalition of advocacy groups 'take a knee' outside of a hotel where members the quarterly NFL league meetings are being held on Tuesday in New York City.  Owners, players and commissioner Roger Goodell are all expected to attend. The activists spoke of having solidarity with athletes and coaches around the country who have also kneeled in protest of racial injustice, especially in policing.
 [Getty Images]
  5. Lightning's Steve Yzerman: Nikita Kucherov 'wants to be great'

    Blogs

    If anyone knows what it is like to be as hot as Nikita Kucherov is right now, it's Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman.

    Nikita Kucherov joined Steve Yzerman, Mario Lemieux and Keith Tkachuk as the only players in the last 30 years to score a goal in each of his team's first six games.