IFWT Martin x Ibaka

The Oklahoma City Thunder had a roller coaster of a year, trading former Sixth Man of the Year James Harden, Russell Westbrook injuring his knee in the first round of the playoffs and then the Thunder subsequently losing in the second round.  Now with the playoffs winding down and the offseason approaching some changes will be made in the organization and Serge Ibaka gave some incite into one of them.  Read more after the jump.

Shay Marie

The trade with the Rockets sent James Harden to Houston and Kevin Martin, Jeremy Lamb, two first-round picks and a second-round pick to the Thunder.

Kevin Martin became a vital additional scorer off the bench albeit not as efficient as James Harden.  Martin seemed very happy about the trade and told everyone that he wanted to stay with the Thunder.  It turns out that might not happen.

via Sheridan Hoops

Serge Ibaka spoke openly about the Thunder’s outlook for the offseason to a spanish media outlet. Most notably in the interview, Ibaka seemed to dismiss the possibility of Kevin Martin’s return to the team. “There will be a lot of changes, like the departure of Kevin Martin,” said Ibaka. “We have room for improvement and we have to add something to improve our play.” The quote comes off as a surprise. Martin has been adamant about wanting to stay in Oklahoma City and the team should have enough money to retain the sixth man on a short term deal. Most importantly, the team has a genuine need for a scorer like Martin and he meshed well with his teammates in the locker room.

Martin will become a free agent and though he has expressed his desire to remain with the Thunder, their financial restraint is no secret.  In fact their financial issue is what caused them to trade Harden rather than giving him the max contract he desired.  Though Martin will require significantly less than Harden there are teams who can offer him more than the Thunder can.  If he truly wants to remain with the team he’ll have to take a pay cut which he may not want to do.

Ibaka later told NBC Sports another story:

“I definitely don’t know nothing about it,” Ibaka told NBCSports.com confidently, in English through his usually thick accent. “I’m a player like him, so we just go play. That’s the kind of question you need to ask the (general) manager.”

Ibaka went on to say he liked playing with Martin, and would welcome him back if the Thunder are willing and able to re-sign him this summer.

“He’s a good guy,” Ibaka said. “He was a good fit for us.”