Photo: Milwaukee Bucks/Twitter

After a brief stint with the Bucks, veteran power forward Serge Ibaka has left the team. The 2019 NBA champion opened up about his decision to part ways with Milwaukee, highlighting concerns over playing time and communication with the coaching staff.

Ibaka joined the Bucks on February 2022, as part of a four-team trade. The team subsequently re-signed him to a one-year contract on July 2022. However, in January 2023, the team and Ibaka agreed to a mutual trade, ultimately leading to his departure from Milwaukee.

NBA insider Shams Charania interviewed Ibaka and inquired about his decision to leave the Bucks. “What happened for me when I decided to leave was that I got to a point where I couldn’t take what was happening anymore,” Ibaka shared candidly.

The 33-year-old forward explained that his decision was driven by the realization that he would not receive the playing time he desired due to the presence of other talented players in the lineup.

“When I was a free agent, the coach told me a lot of things, but I knew coming there I’m not going to play like I want to because you got Brook [Lopez]. He had one of the best seasons in the last 5-6 years. You got Bobby [Portis]. He’s playing at a high level,” Ibaka revealed.

Despite knowing the challenges, Ibaka remained optimistic and determined to contribute to the team in any way possible. “I accepted and I went back. Going there, I said ‘Okay cool, I want to stay ready, I want to keep working hard, I’m going to stay professional, help the team from the bench, cheer for your teammates, practice hard, help your teammates at practice to get better. It is what it is. I’m a professional. I’m so grateful to be in these situations. It’s a blessing. No matter if I’m playing or not,'” he expressed.

However, as the season progressed, Ibaka noticed inconsistencies in the coaching staff’s approach to his playing time, leading to frustration and ultimately influencing his decision to leave.

“For me mentally, it was like ‘Okay, when a guy gets injured, you don’t call my name to play. And those guys, they come back from injuries. That’s exactly when you call me to play. So you call me to play when guys come back. And then I play one game, and then for three weeks, I don’t play. On top of that, there’s no communication. So that’s the main reason why I left,” Ibaka revealed.