*Editor’s note: This piece was written by Behind the Buck Pass contributor, Justin Becker.
The Milwaukee Bucks were not expected to be tanking this season. They were not supposed to do so either. Although the team underwent some big changes during the offseason, they were supposed to record a solid season in 2013-2014. In fact, they were looking towards making the playoffs prior to the season beginning. This terrible course in the season has forced the Bucks to consider shaking things up, as the team now focuses towards next year. One of the core members of the team, who could get moved by the NBA trade deadline, is Ersan Ilyasova.
As recently reported by the Journal Times, the 26-year old versatile forward out of Turkey unofficially requested for a trade. Of course, nothing has yet been confirmed and the Bucks have not commented on the latest reports, but nonetheless it doesn’t seem like an irrational evolution.
Of course, Ilyasova has many times expressed his admiration towards the team. The Bucks were the team to initially select him during the second round of the 2005 NBA Draft. Since then, he has spent his entire career in Milwaukee and obviously has lots of ties with the team and the city.
That being said, at the age of 26, with his prime just ahead, it might be a good time for Ilyasova to start fresh in a new environment. It might also be a good time for the Bucks to trade him away and shake things up. After all, Milwaukee never was in a position to be an elite team with Ersan Ilyasova as their starting power forward.
The truth is that Ilyasova’s performance has dropped this season. He is averaging 10.2 points per contest, after recording a career-high 13.2 points in 2012-2013. His shooting percentages have also declined. He is shooting 37.5 percent from the floor this year, and remarkably his three-pointers are going in at a 29.3 percent rate. In fact, Ilyasova has somewhat lost his “stretch-four” title this season, as his shots from beyond the arc have not been falling.
Even with all of that, Ersan Ilyasova still is one of the best players on this Bucks team, and he is also a valuable asset for Milwaukee in a potential trade. The Bucks will get some value out of a deal in which he would be involved. The caveat, of course, is that a team trading for Ilyasova would need to be able – and willing – to absorb the $32 million remaining on his current deal.
Apart from his scoring skills, Ilyasova has always been a good rebounder and a consistent three-point shooter throughout his career. Maybe a change in scenery is exactly what he needs in order to get things started once again.
Being the only team in the league with single digits in the victory column is certainly a fact that should have the Milwaukee Bucks feeling worried. The time for change is now, and moving Ersan Ilyasova could be a step in the right direction.