Toronto Raptors will be without power forward Serge Ibaka in the game against Atlanta Hawks. The team announced on Friday that they have suspended the player for having an altercation with a staff member, which happened after Wednesday’s game against the Oklahoma City Thunder. The 28-year-old should return for the Raptors’ first game in 2018, duel against the Milwaukee Bucks.
“Both parties have apologized. We’ve discussed this internally as a team, and we won’t be discussing it any further,” – said Raptors president Masai Ujiri in a statement. “Now we’re focused on moving forward together, and we look forward to having Serge back in the lineup.“
Serge Ibaka had a poor game in the Raptors loss against Thunder, having 7 points, 2 assists, and only 2 rebounds. It was a second straight loss for Raptors, who were previously on a six-game winning streak. The team is now sitting at the second spot in the Eastern Conference with a 23-10 record.
The Seattle SuperSonics, who later became Oklahoma City Thunder, were the team that drafted Ibaka in the NBA when they selected him with a 24th overall pick in the 2008 NBA Draft. He stayed for one additional year in Europe, playing for Spain’s Ricoh Manresa, before joining the Thunder in 2009. With the Thunder, Ibaka flourished as a player, especially on the defensive end, being selected to the NBA All-Defensive First Team for three years straight (from 2012 to 2014) and was NBA blocks leader in 2012 and 2013. He was traded in the 2016 offseason to the Orlando Magic, where he played for 56 games and tied his career high in points average with 15.1 points per game. He was traded at the beginning of 2017 to the Toronto Raptors. In the offseason, he signed on a three-year, $65 million contract extension with the team after averaging 14.2 points, 6.8 rebounds and 1.4 blocks per game in 23 games played.