Ersan Ilyasova plots his next move (Getty Images)
Quietly, in his fourth NBA season in a strange career that stretches all the way back to 2006, 24-year-old Milwaukee Bucks forward Ersan Ilyasova has put together a fantastic year. The big forward is averaging just 11 points and nine rebounds, but he's managing those numbers in only 26 minutes per game, without the benefit of many plays being called for him in Milwaukee's Brandon Jennings-centric offense. Armed with these contributions and his impending free agency, some in Milwaukee are actually considering trading Ilyasova at the trade deadline so as to secure some compensation for the guy should he flee the team this summer.
That's right. Not unlike Dwight Howard, the Bucks are worried about losing Ersan Ilyasova for nothing, and might be willing to deal him for assets while they can. Funny trade deadline, this is. Ilyasova, in an interview from a few weeks ago on HoopsWorld, was remarkably candid about where he'd want to go this summer. Namely, to whatever team would pay him the most. Wonderful honesty:
"When I look at it I have to remember that it's a business," said Ilyasova. "Some teams overseas wanted to buyout my contract but I wanted to finish this season in the NBA. This is where I want to be right now, but we will see what happens in the future. Financially, whoever pays me more will be the team that I decide to sign with."
That's … fantastic. Don't try to couch it with "what's best for my family" or "in my best interests." Not even "the best situation for me." Nope, Ersan goes right to "whoever pays me more will be the team that I decide to sign with."
Ersan has also been fantastic in the buildup to the trade deadline, averaging about 17 points and 12 rebounds in only 33 minutes of play over his last 10 games, and it bears repeating that even though he debuted with the Bucks back when Donald Rumsfeld was still the secretary of defense, he won't turn 25 until May 15, which means whatever team that pays him the most will be hiring him through his prime years. That's also my birthday, and I'm hyping up Ilyasova's game on a major website, so I think I should get a cut, Ersan.
If the 15-23 Bucks make Ilyasova the belle of a disappointing trade deadline's ball, don't be surprised. He's going to follow them scrills.
- Ersan Ilyasova