(NOTE: Gery Woelful spoke with Max Ergul who cleared up just why Kanter did not speak with the Bucks.)
It’s happened often enough that it no longer comes as a surprise. That doesn’t mean it doesn’t come off as any less indignant this time though.
Once again, the NBA Draft is approaching. And once again, Milwaukee appears a less than desirable landing spot for at least one draft prospect.
The latest NBA hopeful to avoid Milwaukee is Turkish man of mystery Enes Kanter. After some question about just what teams Kanter did and did not interview with at the Chicago combine, his agent, Max Ergul, offered some clarity on the situation to Sports Illustrated. He wasn’t avoiding a number of teams. He was just avoiding the Bucks.
“The only one I really didn’t care for him [to go to] is Milwaukee,” Ergul said
This isn’t the first time a Turkish player with whom Ergul is associated with has passed on the Bucks.
In 2007, Ersan Ilyasova surprised many by bolting from the NBA to play overseas after his rookie season with Milwaukee. At the time, the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reported that Ergul was Ilyasova’s agent, though then General Manager Larry Harris later insisted Ergul was merely an advisor. At any rate, he had some relationship with Ilyasova and may have played a role in steering the Bucks forward away from Milwaukee. Of course, Ergul was singing quite a different tune about Milwaukee at the time.
“The Bucks gave first-class treatment to Ersan, and we would never hesitate to put another player here,” Ergul said.
How things change.
Kanter is just one of multiple players over the past few years to reject either an interview or workout with the Bucks. Patrick Patterson, Joakim Noah and eventually Bucks draftee Yi Jianlian all have spurned the Bucks in recent years. Whether or not the lack of access will influence Milwaukee’s decision making remains to be seen. Patterson and Noah were gone before the Bucks drafted, but under the Harris regime, Milwaukee did not hesitate to draft Jianlian, the top remaining prospect on their board.
Ergul hasn’t given much indication as to why he’s blacklisted Milwaukee when it comes to Kanter. Some have offered that Andrew Bogut’s long term contract would stand in the way of Kanter’s development, while others note that Milwaukee is simply drafting too far down the board and it could be construed as a sign of weakness to allow a potential top five pick to work out with the team holding pick 10. Then there’s the prevalent perception that Milwaukee isn’t much of a town for a foreign player to play in.
Whether it’s the city, the organization or the draft slot we don’t know, and unless Ergul or Kanter speaks out, we probably won’t get to the bottom of it. But once again as the draft approaches, Milwaukee is singled out as an undesirable location and the city’s image around the league takes yet another hit.
Jeremy Schmidt writes the Milwaukee Bucks blog Bucksketball.com. Follow him on Twitter and become a fan on Facebook (sidebar).