Ibaka: Lack of communication led to Bucks exit

Ibaka: Lack of communication led to Bucks exit

Serge Ibaka opened up about his abrupt exit from the Milwaukee Bucks last season, citing a lack of communication as the root of the problem.

“When I go talk with the front office, they tell me different things. They love me … They want me to be there, they want me to stay,” Ibaka told The Athletic’s Shams Charania. “When I go back on the court, it’s different. It got to some point where I cannot take this no more.

“I love this game so much, but if this is going to take my peace of mind, my joy, it’s not worth it. I earned my respect in this league … I’m not asking about playing. Just communication.”

While former Bucks head coach Mike Budenholzer never promised Ibaka significant minutes, the 14-year veteran found it “confusing” to be in the rotation when the team was healthy and on the bench when the club’s frontcourt was ravaged by injuries.

Ibaka was recently in a similar situation with the Los Angeles Clippers, but appreciated Tyronn Lue’s transparency regarding his playing time.

“I have so much respect about Ty Lue. He used to call me in the morning: ‘Listen, big Serge. This week, I’m going with the young fellas.’ ‘Ah, cool. Perfect. No problem,'” Ibaka said. “Like it or not, at the end of the day, I have to be professional. At least I know the next two weeks, I have to work. And when something changes … he’s going to call me in the office.”

Ibaka and the Bucks reportedly mutually agreed to seek a trade in January. The three-time NBA All-Defensive first-team selection was already away from the club for personal reasons at the time.

Indiana acquired Ibaka from Milwaukee at the trade deadline as part of a three-team deal involving the Brooklyn Nets. The 33-year-old was promptly waived by the Pacers and went unsigned for the remainder of the 2022-23 campaign.

Ibaka was a premier rim-protector at the height of his career but averaged just 4.1 points, 2.8 boards, and 0.4 blocks over 16 appearances last season.

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