Hoopshype’s Jorge Sierra recently sat down with the Thunder’s Serge Ibaka for an interview, and there’s a lot of interesting stuff in there. Here’s a quick excerpt:
Do you think you have the potential to be an All-Star?
SI: Yes, I see it happening in one or two years.
Playing for a team like Oklahoma City, with guys like Kevin Durant or Russell Westbrook, do you think you can have a bigger role offensively than you’ve had so far?
SI: Well… I feel very good about my current role. They will both help me improve my offensive game. On the defensive end, the role I have is very important for me. If one day I become an All-Star, it will not be only because of my offensive game. My job on the defensive end will count too.
Ibaka had a breakout season last year. He established himself as one of the best shot-blockers and defensive players in the league, added a mid-range jumper and made huge leaps on the offensive end, and showed some shocking athleticism when he dunked from beyond the free-throw line at the dunk contest.
He along with Kendrick Perkins make maybe the best defensive front line in the league.
For more of Ibaka’s thoughts on his upcoming free-agency, Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook, which player in the NBA he idolized, and his charity work in the Congo, click through and read the full interview.
With so much focus in recent weeks being on NBA players speaking out on social issues, it’s worth remembering that Kareem Abdul-Jabbar has been one of the most vocal athletes in America on these things for decades. The Hall of Fame and all-time leading scorer in NBA history addressed the Democratic National Convention on Thursday evening, urging voters to vote for Hillary Clinton in November, and opened his remarks by introducing himself as Michael Jordan, because “Donald Trump couldn’t tell the difference.”
You can watch the video of his speech below:
In the weeks since Kevin Durant announced he was signing with the Golden State Warriors, we have yet to hear Russell Westbrook speak on his former teammate’s decision. This week, ESPN.com’s Royce Young indicated in a podcast interview that Durant was telling Westbrook and others in the days leading up to his decision that he was coming back to Oklahoma City. He later walked back his report, saying he misspoke. On Thursday, Durant himself told The Vertical‘s Shams Charania that he never said any such thing, or misled Westbrook or anyone else about his intentions.
“It’s false,” Durant told The Vertical on Thursday. “I didn’t say that – words about me telling Russell or Nick that I would stay or leave never came out of my mouth. We met as teammates, but no promises came out of it. In this day and age, I can’t control anything people claim out there. Someone can go out and say something random right now, and people will believe it.
“I never told Russell or Nick [Collison], ‘All right, guys, I’m coming back to the Thunder’ – and then a week later, I decide not to. Never happened. I don’t operate like that. I heard people say that story, but it’s not the truth.”
So that settles that.
CHICAGO (AP) The Chicago Bulls have signed guard Spencer Dinwiddie.
The Bulls acquired Dinwiddie in a trade with Detroit last month and waived him three weeks ago. He spent two years with the Pistons and appeared in 12 games last season, averaging 4.8 points and 13.3 minutes.
The Bulls announced the move Thursday.