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Serge Ibaka signs to play with Real Madrid during lockout

Oct 25, 2011, 9:52 AM EDT

Ibaka_block

Serge Ibaka has been courted by a number of Spanish teams recently — he became a Spanish citizen (he played there before coming to the NBA) which means he doesn’t count against a team’s foreign player limit. That makes him highly prized.

Ibaka has agreed to play for Real Madrid during the lockout, the team confirmed (via Sportando). This is a two month deal, which likely would be extended if the NBA lockout drags on. It does have an NBA opt out so Ibaka could return to the NBA should the lockout end in the next two months.

Real Madrid is also where Rudy Fernandez is playing — and draining ridiculous three pointers — during the lockout.

Ibaka, the Oklahoma City big man known for his defense, did play for the Spanish national team at EuroBasket, coming off the bench to back up the Gasol brothers. Spain won the European championship and with it got a 2012 London Olympics bid.

Ibaka is primarily a defensive force in the NBA, leading the league in blocked shots last season. He starts along side Kendrick Perkins, giving the Thunder a very defensive minded front line.

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