Ibaka, 22, could’ve been a restricted free agent next summer, and his deal now locks into place three of the Thunder’s core young stars — Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook and Ibaka. Durant and Westbrook each have the maximum contracts allowed under the NBA’s collective bargaining agreement.
Read full article after the jump This deal leaves the future uncertain for guard James Harden, who could command a maximum contract on the league market as a restricted free agent next summer. Along with the remainder of Kendrick Perkins’ three years and $27 million, the small-market Thunder will be hard-pressed to invest so much money into their payroll.
In his third NBA season in 2011-’12, Ibaka averaged 9.5 points, 7.5 rebounds and 3.6 blocks per game. He’s one of the league’s best rim protectors, and been rapidly developing his offensive game. Ibaka was a key player on Spain’s silver-medal-winning Olympic team this month in London.