Serge Ibaka spent the first seven years of his career with the Oklahoma City Thunder. They were good years, too. Ibaka averaged double figures in scoring in the regular season and the postseason. For his meritorious service, he was rewarded in the form of an offseason trade to the Orlando Magic.
It took about a month for the trade to come back to bite the Thunder.
Ibaka sank the game-winning jumper Sunday night in the Magic’s 119-117 win and scored a career-high 31 points to go along with nine rebounds and four blocks. It was a rare moment in almost every way possible for Ibaka.
Magic coach Frank Vogel designed the play specifically for Ibaka to attempt the final shot.
”Coach called my name, and I was ready,” Ibaka said. ”I work on my shot every night and every summer, so I was just ready to make a play.”
”I’m not going to lie to you, it feels good,” he said.
To come back to Oklahoma City and stick it to the team that let you go should feel good. What should feel even better is when Ibaka becomes an unrestricted free agent this summer and he gets a raise from his $12.3 million salary. He’s averaging 14.3 points per game in the early going, which isn’t far from his career-best of 15.1 per game with the Thunder in 2013-14. A few more game winners like that, and his payday could get even bigger.