Bucks, Raptors possible landing spots for Ersan Ilyasova
The league is now in the player-buyout season. With the Eastern Conference’s last-placed Atlanta Hawks unloading players to clear up as much cap spaces as possible and starter Ersan Ilyasova being a player who can provide a lot to playoff contenders, he remains as one of the hottest names in the group of soon-to-be free agents.
The buyout was a bit of a surprise, though, as it came after Ilyasova was quoted just two weeks ago as saying that he intends on staying with the team. Michael Cunningham of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution included it in his column:
“There are a couple of days left, and I want to see other options,” he said Feb. 6. “But I am really kind of OK being here. We’ve got something good going on. We are trying to improve as a team. I want to see all [trade] options, but I would really like to be here.”
Nevertheless, he’s now bound for a move. NBA Insider Sam Amick tweeted today who the front-runners are for the veteran’s services:
Milwaukee and Toronto among possibilities for an Ersan Ilyasova landing spot once Hawks buyout is complete, but sense is it could open to other teams too.
— Sam Amick (@sam_amick) February 23, 2018
The Milwaukee Bucks could be on the list because of all the familiarity.
Ersan Ilyasova spent his first seven NBA seasons with the franchise (2006-07, 2009-2015), and to this day, it’s still the only team he had played for one full season with. In seven seasons in Bucks uniform, Ilyasova played for 453 games and averaged 10.7 points, 6.0 rebounds, while shooting 44.7 percent from the field and 37.0 percent from beyond the arc.
The Toronto Raptors, meanwhile, will be an attractive suitor because of their chances to go deep in the playoffs, which will be a first for Ilyasova. He can boost the Raptors’ outside shooting and rebounding, and also spread the floor more for Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan. Speaking of depth, adding Ilyasova to the Raptors would bolster the team’s already productive second unit. Toronto’s bench is ninth in the league with 40.7 points per game and eighth in rebounding with 17.6 per contest.
Ilyasova has averaged 10.9 points in 46 games played with the Hawks this season.