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Serge Ibaka’s NBA stint comes to an end

Pablo Laso, who coached the center during their time together at Real Madrid, will once again have him under his command at Bayern Munich.

Serge Ibaka #25 of the Milwaukee Bucks walks to the bench during the first half of a game against the Indiana Pacers at Fiserv Forum on February 15, 2022 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
Stacy RevereAFP

A move that seemed closed in recent days has been confirmed and is now official: Serge Ibaka is leaving the NBA and will play in the Euroleague with Bayern Munich, as confirmed by the German club this afternoon.

In Munich, the Spanish power forward of Congolese origin (33 years old) will be reunited with Pablo Laso, his coach during his brief spell at Real Madrid during the NBA lockout in 2011. Laso had only just landed at the white club, where he would go on to make history during the next 11 years. Now, the Basque coach will make his debut on the Bayern bench, and his latest reinforcement is an Ibaka who has already left behind his best days and his physical plenitude, but who can still be very useful, especially in defence.

So Ibaka (a silver medal winner at the 2012 London Games and gold in the 2011 Eurobasket with Spain) returns to European basketball 14 years after changing the discipline of Manresa for that of the Oklahoma City Thunder. Since then, he had not moved from the NBA except for those 40 days he spent at Real Madrid.

Ibaka was looking for a new destination after his time with the Milwaukee Bucks, from where he was transferred to the Indiana Pacers on 9 February of this year as one of the cogs of the monumental (four teams involved...) operation that took Kevin Durant to the Phoenix Suns. Two days after the trade, Ibaka was fired by the Pacers and was without a team until now. He played his last official game on 1 January, with the Bucks. In the 2022-23 season he appeared in just 16 games with an average of 11.6 minutes. His great milestone in the NBA was the 2019 ring, which he won with the Raptors.

For Bayern he is the fifth addition of the summer, after the arrivals of Leandro Bolmaro (Canary Islands), Sylvain Francisco (Peristeri), Carsen Edwards (Fenerbahçe) and Devin Booker (Fenerbahçe). In addition to, of course, the hiring of Laso to replace Andrea Trinchieri. The Spanish coach returns to coaching one year after his departure from Madrid to try to revitalize a team that last year was below expectations: far from fighting for the Euroleague playoffs and without making it to the Basketball Bundesliga final.


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