Thunder Resign Ibaka To Multi-Year Extension
OKLAHOMA CITY - For months, the primary concern for Oklahoma City Thunder fans has been whether or not the team will (or can) re-sign stars James Harden and Serge Ibaka.
Thunder fans, you can rejoice a little bit.
The Thunder resigned Serge Ibaka late Friday night to a multi-year extension. The terms of the deal were not disclosed by the team, but it was first reported by Yahoo! Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski the deal is for four years, worth $48 million.
"We are very excited that Serge will continue as a core member of the Thunder for years to come," said Presti. "His passion for our organization, our community and for continuing to build on the foundation that he and his teammates have established was pivotal to making this possible. Serge personifies many of the traits that we value as an organization; he is a tireless and disciplined worker, an elite competitor and someone who treats his profession with the utmost focus, which in addition to his character, will all be integral to his continued improvement."
With the Thunder signing Ibaka to an extension before he became a restricted free agent, the Thunder avoided the possibility of another team signing Ibaka to an offer sheet it would be unable to match. The numbers on Ibaka's deal also make it much easier to re-sign Harden as well.
Harden and backup point guard Eric Maynor will become restricted free agents if no extension agreement is reached before October 31. Presti said negotiations were continuing with Harden and that Ibaka's deal was independent of any conversations with Harden.
Now, with Ibaka's deal settled, the Thunder have Kevin Durant locked up through 2016, Russell Westbrook through 2017, and now Ibaka through 2017 as well.
However, Harden will certainly command close to a maximum contract on the open market, so the Thunder has to hope he will take less than that to stay in Oklahoma City. All indications are Harden wants to do whatever it takes to stay with the Thunder, but nothing is certain when it comes to salary contracts.
Either way, the Thunder will be in the luxury tax should they re-sign Harden. The only question remains is by how much.
For now, though, Thunder fans can celebrate the fact Ibaka will be with the team for at least five more years, and wait expectantly if Harden will join him.