Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Ersan, we hardly knew ye...

I mentioned a few days ago that Ersan Ilyasova was a restricted free agent, and that no one seemed to care. Well today he officially signed with AXA FC Barcelona. The deal was for two years and $5 million total, with an option involved on the third year. The deal has drawn little notice in NBA circles, and even among media, with a notable exception.
So much of this seems wrong to me and shows how skewered the NBA free agent market is. Ilyasova is a twenty year old forward who showed last season that he clearly belonged in the league. His PER was 12.10 for the year, plenty respectable for someone with so much youth and inexperience. Every time the Celtics played the Bucks, Gorman and Heinson would say how they liked the kid. And that is what he was - a kid, with good touch from the outside and the ability to scrap. It seemed obvious that he could drastically improve. Then an article comes out before the draft saying that Ilyasova looks better than any of the lottery prospects the Bucks are bringing in. He had gained thirty pounds and seemed ready to make the leap.

And you can't offer that guy a contract for $3 million a year? That's less money than Jeff Green will make next year, it's basically still a rookie contract for a lottery level player. There is no reason not to take Ilyasova on face value when he said he wanted to stay in the NBA. It just became clear that nobody would give him a better offer than Barcelona.

So shame on a lot of teams. You're telling me the Celtics couldn't find some time for him at small forward next year? Someone with considerable upside? It's very strange. It is particularly ominous for the Bucks - on the same day we learn of Ilyasova's departure, we learn of Desmond Mason's return. Mason had a PER of 10.90 last year and has no upside. He also will cost probably twice as much as Ilyasova. And Mason once publicly called Bucks GM Larry Harris "a snake in the grass." So, yeah, good going Milwaukee. Between this, the Yi thing, and Bogut's comments the Bucks are the talk of the league. But no one is talking about Ersan, and they might never again. Makes you wonder if it's worth scouting these international guys.


Anonymous said...

Everybody knows Ersan was the kind of bling guy that Bogut despises, obviously that is why they got rid of him. Only Etan Thomas could have saved him with his self-righteousness.

tim said...

that might be the best comment we ever got. i recommend everybody to read freedarko today, it has a great piece on the c's.

Jeramey said...

Thanks for the link (to the Bratwurst).

Ersan will be sorely missed (since he lived a block away from me). It was also a joy to be able to watch him develop on the court. He certainly has a tremendous upside if he continues to work hard.

I would imagine he'll be back in the league in a year or two and tearing it up, like Charlie Bell and Lynn Greer.

I wouldn't be surprised if the Bucks don't have him farmed out to Europe with a backdoor deal with the team so that the Bucks can save some salary cap space and have Ersan develop in the limelight over there.

Jeff Clark said...

I'd rather light my bush on fire than read freedarko.