I guess I should address this RUMOR (I say this in all caps for a reason) from Racine Journal-Times reporter Gery Woelfel that the Milwaukee Bucks and Washington Wizards have discussed a trade involving Ersan Ilyasova and the No. 3 pick.
It came in an interview on the Big Show on 1250 AM sports radio in Milwaukee on Friday (4:50 mark). Here's the full transcript:
RADIO HOST: Ersan Ilyasova is a guy, whether they get Josh Smith or they don't get Josh Smith, just doesn't seem to be a fit. Even going back to the Larry Drew press conference, he talked about [John] Henson right off the bat. Mainly because Henson was sitting there, but he was talking about Henson, he talked about Larry Sanders and how both of them have huge upsides and he can't wait to coach them. He did a huge dialogue at the beginning of that press conference about them. He didn't really bring up Ersan until we got into the Q&A portion later. It sounds like [Drew's] buying into the fact that [Henson and Sanders] are the two guys he's going to go with going forward. What do you think the likelihood is that Ersan Ilyasova gets moved on draft night or sometime this summer.
GERY WOELFEL: Well, they'd move him. It's going to be a major move because Ersan's value is definitely pretty high. One of the rumors -- and I repeat, rumor, all capital letters here -- is that Washington might have some interest in Ilyasova and another Bucks player.
RADIO HOST: For No. 3?
GERY WOELFEL: For No. 3.
RADIO HOST: YES! YES! YES! YES! YES! YES! DO IT. SOLD! BYE BYE! SEE YA ERSAN! I'LL DRIVE YOU TO THE AIRPORT! BYE BYE!
GERY WOELFEL: Lending more credence to it is the other day -- I don't know if you saw this -- but John Wall came out and basically, out of nowhere (Editor's Note: It wasn't out of nowhere), said how the Wizards could use a "Stretch 4." (Editor's Note: his actual words were "a 4 man that can pick and pop," which is essentially the same thing. But Wall never said "Stretch 4"). Sounds like Ersan Ilyasova to me.
I can't really speak to the validity of this specific rumor, but it's important to note that most rumors that actually come out this time of the year don't happen. Teams have "discussions" all the time, but you don't hear about them if they're serious unless they are imminently happening. Semantics are very important here.
To speak to this dilemma, I want to share a quick story. We're doing an SB Nation mock draft involving all 30 of our bloggers, and we're allowed to make trades so long as they fit under the salary cap. A blogger of a team picking near the Bucks offered me a similar trade to this. It would have sent a player in Ilyasova's salary bracket plus their draft pick for the No. 3 pick and one of the two former Hornets on the Wizards' roster. I thought about it for a couple minutes and turned it down. He then tried a variation on the trade offer that was slightly more favorable. I thought about it for a few more minutes, we traded a few emails, and then I finally decided that there was nothing on his team worth trading out of No. 3 to get.
Here's a thought process for you. Let's say you're a reporter "covering" the SB Nation mock draft. You talk with me, Amin, Jeff, Satchel, Umair, Thomas and BNIE regularly. You're trying to fish for information on what we'll do at No. 3. Let's say that, in the course of your conversations with us, you learn about what happened in the above paragraph. You confirm the most important players involved and you check with at least two of us to see if we have similar stories.
How would you describe the information you just got?
Is it a rumor? Did we have "discussions?" Were those "discussions" serious? Are they "discussions" that could lead to something else? Is it important who initiated them? To the point of the Woelfel rumor: is there anything I've said, tweeted or written somewhere indicating that I think the team needs the kind of player that you learned was a part of my discussions with the other team blogger? How much does all that information matter? What is actually useful?
This is the game of information tag all reporters play this time of year. It's why you have to consider these reports for what they are.
As to this specific trade proposed, it's a non-starter for me. Dealing an asset like the No. 3 pick for Ilyasova would be a very bad move. I actually like Ilyasova for what he is, but the No. 3 pick is potentially a franchise cornerstone for the next 10 years and is worth more than what's essentially a role player.
The Wizards definitely do have a need for a player like Ilyasova. Even with Wall healthy, this was a bottom-10 offense that was hamstrung in large part by the poor perimeter shooting of Nene and Emeka Okafor together. What they brought as a duo defensively, they often took away because they were left wide open from 16 feet off the pick and pop and could never make the defense pay consistently enough to change their strategy.
Ilyasova would change that. He's an elite perimeter shooter that is very crafty at getting open. Here's a video I made as part of my NBA Playoffs pet play series that shows how the Bucks used Ilyasova in conjunction with a big man diving to the rim on high pick and rolls to create good shots.
Ilyasova isn't great defensively, but he's not Antawn Jamison-bad either. He actually positions himself decently, but save for a weird stretch late in the 2011-12 season, he doesn't rebound. He's also giving up plenty of size to bigger players that will exploit him in certain matchups.
But at his core, Ilyasova is a role player. He's incredibly streaky as a shooter and doesn't really provide a lot elsewhere, besides the threat of his shooting, to make up for games where he plays poorly. Including playoffs, Ilyasova had 33 games where he shot at least 50 percent from the field and 25 games where he shot under 35 percent this season. He's, quite literally, hit or miss. This is no all-star we're talking about.
Therefore, sending away an asset like a top-five lottery pick for him would be akin to the disastrous Mike Miller/Randy Foye trade of 2009. Never trade a chance to add to the foundation just to plug a hole. If the Wizards really wanted Ilyasova, they should have signed him last summer instead.