The 2016 NBA Draft will likely go down as one of the duller drafts in recent memory. In spite of much speculation, major deals were few and far between, with most teams seemingly trying (and failing) to avoid drafting players, given the dearth of possible franchise changing prospects available. But despite it all, there was one major trade made that was largely unexpected: the Oklahoma City Thunder sent big man Serge Ibaka, a three-time member of the All-NBA Defensive team and franchise cornerstone for the last seven seasons, to the Orlando Magic for shooting guard Victor Oladipo, forward Ersan Ilyasova, and the draft rights to Domantas Sabonis, taken with the 11th overall pick. Here are the SportsZone Trade Grades for both teams:


Ibaka was a player who was asked to do more than most big men usually do. He was a fierce presence on the inside, he could score when needed, and he has also become adept at hitting a three pointer over the course of his career. But with the emergence of Steven Adams and Enes Kanter he became expendable for a team that proved they still aren’t quite where they need to be to win a championship, and one hoping to retain Kevin Durant this offseason. This was as perfect a return as they could hope for, because not only do they add depth at the forward position in Ilyasova and Sabonis (son of former Portland Trail Blazer Arvydos Sabonis), they get a superstar in the making in Oladipo, and the first legitimate scoring threat they have had at shooting guard since James Harden was traded four years ago.

Oladipo can do a little of everything; he can set up other players, he can rebound, he can score, and he’s a quality defender. While the ideal scenario is him complementing Durant and Russell Westbrook, and being that third scorer who can help take pressure off, the Thunder have also given themselves insurance in the unlikely event Durant leaves this season, without completely sacrificing their toughness upfront. Losing Ibaka will definitely be felt, but bringing in a future star such as Oladipo was a great was to cushion the blow.


This trade doesn’t make a lot of sense if one is a Magic fan. They already had Aaron Gordon and Nikola Vucevic up front, and had spent the better part of the last three seasons assembling a quality, young core of talent that seemed poised to flourish under new head coach Frank Vogel. Not only did they sacrifice that by trading Oladipo away, but it comes mere months after they traded another talented young player away in Tobias Harris, in what was thought to be a move to open up playing time for Gordon. Now, he appears destined for a bench role once again, unless he sticks at small forward, where he seemed a poor fit and would take time away from another young player, Mario Hezonja.

The thinking is that they traded Oladipo away because they felt Evan Fournier was a better fit in the backcourt with point guard Elfrid Payton, but the problem is that Oladipo has a higher ceiling that both players, plus Fournier could leave or cost a boatload of money as a restricted free agent this summer, when big men are actually more plentiful than backcourt players anyway. So while Ibaka might thrive in a system that has benefited other big men such as David West and Roy Hibbert, it cost them a true face of the franchise, and one who was still under his rookie contract.

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