The agent for Ersan Ilyasova, Tolga Tugsavul, has told HoopsHype that his clients has offers from the Brooklyn Nets, Toronto Raptors, and two European teams, in addition to an offer from the Bucks. One of the European overtures is a four-year deal that is a “big offer”.
The problem for the Raptors and the Nets is that they have made numerous moves already this offseason to tie up their cap situations. Brooklyn has re-signed Gerald Wallace (4 years/$40 million) and Deron Williams (5 years/$100 million), in addition to trading for Joe Johnson and the remainder of his titanic contract (4 years/$89 million). Their cap situation is flush, and that doesn’t even take into account the fact that they are still pursuing a trade for Dwight Howard. The Nets’ acquisition of Ersan would fully depend on a sign-and-trade deal, but their remaining assets –restricted free agent Kris Humphries, Brook Lopez and his expiring contract, and second-year guard Marshon Brooks — are 1) tied up in the attempted Howard deal, and 2) not every attractive to the Bucks. The Bucks frontcourt is stacked. Humphries is too much like the power forwards the Bucks already have (who are cheaper), and adding a center is less of a priority with Samuel Dalembert on board. Plus, Brook Lopez can’t rebound. The only attractive piece the Nets have is Brooks, and his salary won’t match anywhere near the deal that Ersan would command.
The Raptors have signed restricted free agent guard Landry Fields to a hefty offer sheet (3 years/$20 million) that the Knicks seem unwilling to match. Toronto has also made an offer to Steve Nash (3 years/$36 million). It appears that the Fields deal was made, at least in part, as a the collective bargaining equivalent of cockblocking the Knicks in their courtship of Nash. Fields was reportedly a piece that the Knicks — who are over the cap and unable to sign Nash via anything other than the taxpayer’s midlevel exception — could use in a sign-and-trade deal to bring Nash to New York. But the collective bargaining agreement does not allow teams to match a restricted free agent offer sheet and then turn around and trade the player. So if the Knicks match Fields’ offer in Toronto, he is there to stay, and New York is much less likely to be able to swing a deal for Nash.
In any case, Fields was so bad last year (he had significant drops in 3-pt FG%, FT%, and defensing rebounding) that it is tough to see the Knicks being willing to take a likely luxury tax hit to keep him. The Suns’ offer to Nash was paltry at best (2 years/$12 million), so unless another team works out a sign-and-trade with Phoenix, he could very well be headed back to Canada. If Nash and Fields go on Toronto’s books, the Raptors would have used up their salary cap space and would not be able to sign Ersan. With the Fields offer sheet in limbo until July 11, any potential deal Ilyasova is going to make with the Raptors is going to have to wait until after Steve Nash makes his decision. (Canada isn’t dashing its Steve Nash hopes for Ersan or anyone else for that matter.)
Then there are the Bucks. According to Adrian Wojnarowski, Milwaukee is “making a push” to re-sign him. No doubt Hammond has been shrewd in his negotiations, cognizant of the fact that his two nearest competitors are tied up in other deals. But to pull in Ilyasova, he is going to have to make an offer that is both above the mid-level exception and substantial enough to keep him away from Europe.
Who is the Euro suitor? With the current financial situation in Europe, the team is likely to come from one of the big draws in Spain, Turkey, or Russia, and not say, Italy or Greece. In Turkey, Beşiktaş and Anadolu Efes were two teams that maneuvered like high rollers during the NBA lockout, and it wouldn’t surprise me to hear they made an offer to Ersan. Nor would an offer from Fenerbahçe, the squad that dominated in the late 00s with Semih Erden, Omer Asik, and Tarence Kinsey (who is with the Bucks in Summer League this year). Ersan has to have more appeal (and thus, more financial draw) in Turkey than in Spain or Russia, right?
According to his agent, Ilyasova is going to come to a decision in the next week.