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Ibaka unhappy with Spanish team, may skip Rio Olympics

Aug 23, 2012, 3:56 PM EDT

Spanish centre Serge Ibaka catches the b Getty Images

Serge Ibaka looked pretty good in the gold medal game against the United States — he had 12 points and 9 rebounds, and he played 22 minutes.

But apparently the minutes were an issue for Ibaka through the Olympics — he wanted more but found his role shrinking. And he is so ticked he may not play for Spain in four years when the Olympics come to Rio.

That according to a report out of El Mundo, the Spanish publication, with some translation via Ball Don’t Lie.

After practice, while the other players shared coffee or fruit, the Thunder big man put as much distance as possible [between him and his teammates]. The day before the final, for example, he waited alone on the bus for half an hour, looking heated. The evening before the semifinals, he wandered through a field near the stadium, gesticulating in an unfriendly manner while talking on the phone. Every evening, after workouts, he crossed between the handful of journalists, and only someone suicidal would have dared to stop him….

“If things continue like this, I will not return,” he admitted to close friends before the final.

That’s not going to come off well, especially after we saw his teammate James Harden play a limited role for Team USA an not complain.

Ibaka averaged 15.2 minutes a game for Spain and saw his minutes slide, but that was for a few reasons. First, the simple fact is he is not as good as Marc Gasol or Pau Gasol — not today, not during the Olympics. And certainly not in an international style game where the Gasols have played with the other members of that team for more than a decade.

Ibaka was not getting the Gasols’ minutes. Nor should he. Yes, veteran Spanish leaguer Felipe Reyes started to eat into his minutes, but Reyes was playing well.

Honestly, I thought Spain used Ibaka fairly. He is an improving big man — a good rim defender who runs the floor and has worked hard to develop a consistent midrange game. But he was not always the best call.

If he comes back he very likely plays a much bigger role in Rio. And you would think the four-year, $48 million he just got from Oklahoma City would help soften his mood.

  1. icu84bs - Aug 23, 2012 at 4:12 PM

    Although Perkin’s has the best scowl in the NBA 8), I hope his (Perkin’s) generally grumpy attitude has not already affected Ibaka…

  2. logic216 - Aug 23, 2012 at 5:09 PM


  3. kdn4 - Aug 23, 2012 at 5:13 PM

    He just made $48M!!! He has no reason to be unhappy!

    That’s 24.5 times as much as everyone who reads this site will make in their lives combined!

  4. imthedudedude - Aug 23, 2012 at 6:37 PM

    Wow shut up Ibaka. That makes me sick. First players complain about not getting paid, Now guys like Favors and Ibaka demand minutes? Hey fellas, why don’t you make yourselves better and that way coach will want to put you in!!! Omg is that how it works? These guys forget how lucky they are to be there in the first place, Ibaka just lost all my respect, pathetic.

    • sellahh - Aug 23, 2012 at 7:49 PM

      r u a preacher or what? sure seems like you like to improve others. try starting with urself

  5. lakerluver - Aug 23, 2012 at 6:57 PM

    Dang, if he got that angry over the Olympics how angry will he be after OKC gets eliminated by the LAKERS next season?

  6. 00maltliquor - Aug 23, 2012 at 11:52 PM

    He was playing behind Spain’s two best players who impact the game on both defense AND offense, what did he expect??

    Man, this really sours my opinion on one of my personal favorite players in today’s game. What a chump sandwich, shouldn’t it be about having the best possible players on the floor to ensure a gold medal and not about who gets what minutes? That is not a team player at all. He acted like a spoiled little primadonna brat. Uggh. I hope this story is overexaggerated. I’m really disgusted.

  7. gsproof - Aug 24, 2012 at 2:54 AM

    “Reyes was playing well..” Come on. Reyes is not in the same league (literally). Playing Reyes instead of Ibaka doesn’t make any sense especially when they played agains US.

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