Is bringing back Ilyasova a good gamble for the Bucks?
Wednesday marks the lifting of the free agent moratorium in the NBA, which means all of the deals we've heard being reported for the last 10 days or so officially become, well, official.
There is plenty of time to analyze what all of the free agent movement and trading means to the Milwaukee Bucks' playoff chances in the 2012-13 season, but what Bucks fans are most interested in this week is whether forward Ersan Ilyasova officially agrees to the contract that is reportedly on the table.
To fans, there have been few topics as divisive as the re-signing of Ilyasova.
Detractors say the 6-foot, 10-inch forward is unnecessary on a team loaded with players of the same ilk. Supporters say he is coming into his own after nearly averaging a double-double in under 28 minutes per game.
The biggest hang up for all though might be the terms of the reported deal – five years at around $40 or $45 million.
What isn't up for debate is that the Bucks are in a bad spot here.
Is Ilyasova on the verge of becoming an All-Star who averages 20 points and over 10 rebounds per game, or will he just be a decent player at 14 points and 9 rebounds?
It's a big gamble, but it's one the team doesn't want to lose if he turns into that star in Detroit or Toronto.
Odds are he will not be an All-Star, however.
At 25 years old and a four-year veteran, Ilyasova's ceiling isn't much higher than what we've already seen. And with lottery pick John Henson playing the same position, it isn't reasonable to think Ilyasova's minutes will skyrocket over the 28 he averaged last season.
Should he re-sign, that puts him in the starting lineup with Brandon Jennings, Monta Ellis, Drew Gooden and Samuel Delambert while bringing Henson, Larry Sanders and Ekpe Udoh off the bench as backup big men.
If he is an All-Star in waiting, it gives the Bucks three such players - along with Jennings and Ellis – creating a high-scoring lineup that could make the Bucks a scary playoff team.
If he falters, it puts more of an emphasis on the development of the offensive games of Henson, Sanders and Udoh – all if which would be hampered by his presence.
Another question surrounding Ilyasova's potential deal is what it means for the Bucks going forward off the court. Will adding another $8-9 million to the payroll hinder the franchise from making more moves?
There is no doubt Jennings will seek the same five-year, $100 million extension Deron Williams got in New Jersey, but once he becomes an unrestricted free agent he'll only be able to sign a four-year, $58 million offer sheet, like New Orleans guard Eric Gordon did in Phoenix.
That's quite a difference, so all signs point to Jennings staying in Milwaukee. He's also worth something in between those two contracts, which is also good for the Bucks' cap flexibility moving ahead.
After this season, Beno Udrih and Samuel Dalembert come off the books at a combined $14 million, as will Mike Dunleavy at $3.75 million. If Monta Ellis opts out, there goes another $11 million. Gooden would be an amnesty candidate in two years at $6.67 million.
Larry Sanders remains cheap and under team control for 2013-14, as does Udoh. Tobias Harris and Luc Richard Mbah a Moute are also locked up at a reasonable number (a little under $7 million combined) through 2014-15.
General manager John Hammond may deservedly be criticized for the talent, or lack thereof, brought in to Milwaukee during his tenure, but he has done an excellent job recently at staggering contracts and keeping the team from having a plethora of players making $10-plus million per season.
It's impossible to say signing will be good for the Bucks going forward, but it's a gamble the team is able to make.
without a dominant big man...it won't make any difference....yawn.
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