Former Milwaukee Bucks forward Serge Ibaka said he wanted to stay with the team despite his limited minutes. However, he said it got to a point where he had no choice but to leave.
According to Ibaka, he was contacted by Bucks Coach Mike Budenholzer, who recruited him and made it clear he wasn’t going to be playing as many minutes as he was used to with other teams because Brook Lopez and Bobby Portis were in front of him on the Bucks depth chart.
“I knew going there, it was really hard for me to have a minute to play, and we talked about it before signing,” Ibaka said. “He told me to my face, ‘Listen, you come in here, I promise you nothing, but you never know. It’s a long season. Guys can have injuries. You have to stay ready.’ I said OK, cool, accept it. I’m gonna keep working hard, stay professional, and cheer for our teammates.”
The three-time All-NBA Defense Team member considered joining the Bucks a blessing. Still, he started “getting confused” when his minutes didn’t grow despite forwards Giannis Antetokounmpo and Khris Middleton missing a combined 68 games due to injuries. Ibaka said he found it odd that he only saw an increase in minutes when key players started returning from injuries.
Not only did the forward become frustrated with his inability to crack the team’s rotation for three weeks, but he said the lack of communication from the coaches and management concerning his playing time could have been better.
“There was no communication. So that’s really the main reason I left. It’s not because of what people are thinking, like, ‘Oh, I want to play more, asking more.’ No. You can ask all the teammates you can. Ask all my guys I play with, and I didn’t have nothing..no problem with the guys in the locker room,” said Ibaka. 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. I go back on the court; the situation is different. It got to some point where I was like, ‘OK, I cannot just take this no more. I love this game so much, but if this is gonna take my peace of mind, my joy, you know, it’s not worth it.”
Source: Black Enterprise