The Milwaukee Bucks are working hard to move veteran forward Ersan Ilyasova, reports Gery Woelfel of the Racine Journal Times. One official told Woelfel the team is “shopping him hard,” although it’s unclear if suitors have engaged the Bucks in trade talks yet.
Given Ilyasova’s contract and Milwaukee’s move towards a rebuilding project, trading the 27-year-old this offseason would make a good deal of sense. Ilyasova is due over $24 million over the next three seasons (although the final year is partially guaranteed) and could be a strong fit on a contender that can maximize his floor-spacing skillset on the perimeter.
There’s also not much room for Ilyasova in Milwaukee anymore after the team drafted Jabari Parker with the No. 2 overall pick in the 2014 draft. Between Parker, Giannis Antetokounmpo, John Henson and Larry Sanders, the Bucks have the core of their frontcourt set for the long-term as they build for the future.
So a trade of Ilyasova may ultimately make the most sense, and some teams will surely have interest in the sharpshooting big man at the right price. However, he’s coming off a down-year where he shot just 41 percent overall and 28 percent from three, so teams will need to be confident he can rebound in a more positive environment.
That’s certainly possible, as Ilyasova was a key contributor when Milwaukee made the postseason in 2012-13. That season, he averaged 13.2 points and 7.1 rebounds per game while shooting 46 percent overall and 44 percent from three. Any contender would appreciate that kind of shooting from a big, and Ilyasova is also a strong rebounder who can finish defensive possessions.
With the free agent market looking more expensive this offseason, his contract may not turn away as many teams as it did in the past, so we’ll see if the Bucks can find the right suitor to put together a deal. Otherwise, the team may need to keep working on it as Ilyasova likely wouldn’t be thrilled playing behind young guys on a rebuilding team during his prime years.