Serge Ibaka has signed a one-year deal with Bayern Munich, thus returning to Europe after his brief stint with Real Madrid in 2011-12.

Credit: John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports
Credit John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

Almost two weeks before the start of the season, FC Bayern Munich have completed their roster in spectacular fashion.

Serge Ibaka

Serge  Ibaka
Position: PF
Age: 33
Height: 208 cm
Weight: 107 kg
Birth place: Brazzaville, Congo (Republic of the)

Long-time NBA big man Serge Ibaka, 33 (will turn 34 on September 18), who played a key role in the Toronto Raptors winning the 2019 NBA title has signed a one-year deal with the German Cup winners. According to the club's announcement, Ibaka arrived in Munich on Friday morning, then successfully completed all medical checks and met club president Herbert Hainer as the two of them watched together the Bundesliga game vs. Bayer 04 Leverkusen.

Ibaka, a Spanish international with Congolese roots, will meet head coach Pablo Laso and his new team at the MagentaSport Cup in Munich's BMW Park on Saturday and Sunday (September 16, 17). He was most recently under contract with the Milwaukee Bucks before the two sides parted ways at the beginning of the year.

Over 14 years, the No. 24 pick in the 2008 Draft had a total of 919 appearances in the NBA regular season with an average of 12.0 points and 7.1 rebounds, and he also played 152 playoff games. He was selected to the All-Defensive First Team three times.

"It's a privilege for me to be able to join this historic, world-famous sports club so that the basketball team can also reach the top European level," the veteran big man said.

"I've had a long NBA career, but I'm approaching this new chapter with a lot of enthusiasm - I still have a lot of fire in me and love for the game. The fact that Pablo Laso is the coach was also a crucial factor for me. He's one of the best coaches in the world."

Before leaving for the NBA in 2009, Ibaka competed for Manresa in the 2008-09 campaign.

He returned to Europe during the 2011 NBA lockout, signing a two-month contract with Real Madrid alongside Rudy Fernandez. Over 6 EuroLeague games, he averaged 5.5 points, 4.7 rebounds and 2 blocks in 15 minutes per game.

"I want to provide my experience to help coach Laso establish a high standard and a strong work ethic in the team," Ibaka continued.

"I always give my all to the game, and I definitely plan to do the same here in Munich and hopefully help the younger players. On the court, I want to assist the team with everything that is needed, starting from defense to my shooting range. I want to be a part of a team that collaborates and has a winning mentality."

Bayern president Herbert Hainer, who had extensive discussions with Ibaka on Friday evening, said:

"We are incredibly proud and happy that such a highly decorated athlete like Serge Ibaka believes in our path. We are convinced that he will not only be an enormous reinforcement in terms of sport but at the same time an enrichment for German basketball. I am sure that our young players in particular will benefit massively from his great experience."

"Serge's career speaks for itself," said sports director Daniele Baiesi. "With him, we get size, the ability to open the court, and a huge presence on and off the court. This is undoubtedly a very prestigious transfer and documents the credibility of our program."

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