Mar 31, 2012; Milwaukee, WI, USA; Milwaukee Bucks forward Ersan Ilyasova (7) during the game against the Memphis Grizzlies at the Bradley Center. The Grizzlies defeated the Bucks 99-95. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-US PRESSWIRE
Depending on what the Washington Wizards do with Andray Blatche and Rashard Lewis, they could have around $12 million of salary-cap space to spend this summer. It remains to be seen if the Wizards actually use it or bank it towards the 2013 class, but in any event, there are a number of free agents that could help the team's push into playoff contention. We'll take a look at several of those options in this running series. Next up: Ersan Ilyasova.
Type: Unrestricted free agent.
This past year: Really broke out at the age 24 and probably should have been the league's Most Improved Player. After three straight years of falling in love with the long two-pointer, Ilyasova took a step back beyond the three-point line and found it was a great shot for him. Not only did his attempts go up, but his percentage skied all the way to 45.5 percent. He also became a very good rebounder, snaring 17.6 percent of available rebounds when he was on the court. His improvement was so massive that I almost wonder if this was a fluke year.
Why he's fit in well: He plays so well without the ball, which makes him really tough to guard in pick and pop situations. Now that he's devoted himself to actually shooting threes, he would give the Wizards a stretch power forward that also rebounds well. Essentially, he's Ryan Anderson, except he's not being aided by playing with the NBA's best center.
Why he might not: Like with Anderson, the Wizards don't have a huge need at the position. Ilyasova becomes much more ordinary when he's asked to play small forward, particularly because his post game isn't quite as good as Anderson's.
Likely price tag: I think he should get what Anderson is going to get, but ultimately, the offers won't be too far above the mid-level exception. There have been reports that Ilyasova would return to Europe if he doesn't get the contract he is seeking, and I think there's a good chance that ends up happening.
Verdict: Despite the position overlap, Ilyasova is a guy I would consider this summer, depending on his price tag. The key word, though, is "consider." The Wizards don't have a need for him because of their power forward depth, and therefore, they shouldn't overpay. But if llyasova can come here without breaking the bank, it's worth thinking about doing it and using the other young frontcourt bodies on the roster in a trade to upgrade the wings.