Ibaka will miss playing for the Thunder—he still hasn’t gotten over blowing a 3-1 series lead to the Golden State Warriors—but is ready to for a fresh start with the Magic.
— Sports Illustrated (@SInow) August 30, 2016
The big fella wants to share what he learned from Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant with his new teammates.
— The Players' Tribune (@PlayersTribune) August 30, 2016
Per Sports Illustrated and The Players’ Tribune:
I never asked to be traded, even though there was a lot of media conjecture that I was unhappy with my role. I had an exit meeting with Billy Donovan and Sam Presti after the season, and both went well. But this is still a business, everybody has to do what’s best for them, and I let my agent deal with the business side of things. I just focus on basketball. I’m not the kind of guy who’s going to go in and ask for a trade, and I would have been happy staying with the Thunder. Playing in the NBA was my dream, and I’d be happy playing anywhere…
Right now, though, I feel like a rookie again. I’m thrilled to be in Orlando. I know that might sound crazy to some people, that I’m excited to go from a contender like the Thunder to a rebuilding team, one that hasn’t made the playoffs in four years, but playing now for Frank Vogel, a coach who prides himself on defense, is very exciting for me. We have a core of like-minded, young, athletic players, which is going to be very fun. We are an old-school, smashmouth team, and I can’t wait to don a Magic uniform on opening night.
I’m thankful to God for this opportunity. I’m excited, man! It’s a hard challenge. It won’t be easy. I’m going to work hard, like Russ and KD taught me to. I can’t wait to play in front of the fans in Orlando. How lucky am I to go from one city that loves basketball to another? With Disney World nearby, I know my daughter — Ranie, she’s 10 — is going to love it, too. […] I couldn’t be more excited to play with the young big men in Orlando. There’s a lot of talent on this team. We’re going to be flying around the court this year. I’m looking forward to going to work with them. I’m a different player than when I first came into the league. I understand that it’s time for me to take on a new role. Now I’m going to be one of the veterans.