International teams are gearing up for the Olympics in Rio de Janero this August. As part of the preparations, the Spanish national team announced their 24 man preliminary squad yesterday. Serge Ibaka was listed as part of the squad. Each team can only have one naturalized citizen in the final squad, so Ibaka will likely compete with Nikola Mirotic for that spot.
Serge Ibaka is coming off of a successful 2015-16 campaign with the Thunder, having been a key rotation piece for the Western Conference Finalists. Furthermore, Ibaka's offensive game has taken a step forward, as he's now comfortable shooting threes from all around the arc. Ibaka's step-in two point shot has improved as well. But Ibaka's overall athleticism seems to have taken a huge step back. This has had adverse effects on Ibaka's ability as a rim protector. Overall though, there wouldn't be many arguing that Ibaka is less valuable than Nikola Mirotic. Mirotic can hit threes and rebound, but his defense is awful. So the spot should be Ibaka's if he wants it. Ibaka's health also appears to be in order, as he only missed four games towards the end of the season.
Interestingly enough, Alex Abrines was also named to the 24 man preliminary squad. Abrines' rights are held by the Thunder, because OKC drafted him with the 32nd pick back in 2014. But Abrines' chances of joining the Thunder remain slim. Abrines' current contract with Barcelona takes him through the 2019 season, and has a high buyout.
Other NBA players announced to the team include Pau Gasol (Bulls), Marc Gasol (Grizzlies), Jose Calderon (Knicks), and Ricky Rubio (Wolves). Notable former NBA players include Rudy Fernandez, Sergio Rodriguez, and Juan Carlos Navarro. The Spanish national team is somewhat long in tooth, but possess by far the most experienced roster in the entire Olympic basketball tournament.
Other Thunder players slated to appear in olympic competition are Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant. Westbrook and KD are virtual locks for the Team USA roster. Steven Adams would also be eligible to compete for the Tall Blacks of New Zealand, but has said that he will not join the team this Summer. Enes Kanter would be eligible to play for Turkey, but Turkey did not qualify.