After multiple stints with the team over the course of his career, it’s possible that Ersan Ilyasova may have played his final game for the Milwaukee Bucks.
If the NBA season doesn’t ultimately resume and ends up voided or canceled, the Milwaukee Bucks will find themselves in a particularly strange spot.
Of course, in that scenario the Bucks would find themselves with nothing to show for what had been one of the greatest seasons in the franchise’s history.
Milwaukee would also be in a tough spot in terms of the potential trickle down effects that such an anti-climactic finish to the current season could have for their roster makeup.
At the top level and most pressingly, there are the questions of how such a scenario could influence Giannis Antetokounmpo‘s thinking as it pertains to a potential supermax extension. Beyond that, though, there are a wide range of uncertainties that relate to Milwaukee’s role players.
The current Bucks are one of the oldest rosters in the NBA in terms of average age, and the shape of their roster may be forced to adjust somewhat because of that if the current season is unable to resume as normal.
My colleague Jordan Treske has touched on the fact that these strange times we find ourselves in could mean we’ve seen the last of Kyle Korver in the NBA, but veterans such as Robin Lopez and Wesley Matthews will also face player options this offseason, the recently acquired Marvin Williams will be a free agent, while Ersan Ilyasova’s contract for next year is non-guaranteed.
When it comes to Ilyasova, that makes for a major question mark over the future of one of the most notable players in recent Bucks history.
Ilyasova is famously in his third spell with the Bucks, having been drafted back in 2005, then playing for a couple of seasons in Spain, returning for six straight seasons in Milwaukee, before then playing for three seasons elsewhere, and now in his second season back with the franchise.
That leaves Ilyasova in rarefied company when it comes to all-time Bucks. The Turkish big man is currently eighth overall in terms of games played for Milwaukee, and just 19 games away from moving as high as third. He’s also ninth overall in terms of total rebounds.
Ilyasova’s time with the franchise has certainly included extreme ups and downs on individual and team levels, along with corresponding fluctuations in how he’s been perceived by the fans. The truth, though, is there’s something quintessential about the Bucks experience that Ilyasova has lived through.
Ersan was a part of the worst season in franchise history, as well as for what was tracking to be potentially the greatest season. He also crucially spent years on Bucks teams that were the picture of mediocrity in between. When Bucks fans speak of the challenges and the pains that come with being a Bucks fan, few players have experienced the full range over the franchise’s history in the way that Ilyasova has.
The arrival of Marvin Williams shortly before the season was suspended certainly led to a major re-shaping of Ilyasova’s role with the Bucks, and in its own right that would have cast doubt over his future beyond this campaign.
But with the Bucks essentially facing a decision of whether they want to pay $7 million to keep Ilyasova around for one more year, the increased pressure they may come under with the potential salary cap fallout linked to the current coronavirus stoppage may end up making that decision for them.
Still, Ilyasova’s family have long had roots set down in Milwaukee, and perhaps if there’s a mutual desire, a new deal could also possibly be agreed to at a lower price.
If that doesn’t happen, though, it’s not out of the question that Ilyasova’s time with the Bucks could be at an end. Of course, with Ilyasova and the Bucks, it’s probably best to never say never.