Friday turned out to be an interesting day in Milwaukee Bucks news. It came out that Monta Ellis turned down a two-year, $26 million extension, which seemed to indicate both that he’s on his way out of Milwaukee and that the Bucks were heading in the same old direction. Now, rumor is the Bucks are looking to improve their fortunes via high draft picks by engaging in talks with the Washington Wizards concerning Ersan Ilyasova and the third pick in this year’s draft. It is unclear exactly when the discussions took place, if they really did and if Ellis declining Milwaukee’s offer spurred it in any way. Gery Woelfel also reported the rumor on Milwaukee radio Friday.
While it seems unlikely that the Wizards would agree to a direct Ersan-for-third-pick swap, there is always the possibility that those pieces might be the groundwork for a larger deal. The Bucks’ 15th pick could be in play with other player contracts involved to even out the money – the Wizards could be looking to shed the contracts of Trevor Ariza or Nene and believe that having a surer thing in Ilyasova is preferable to an inherently risky draft pick.
As for the Bucks, the lure of snagging a young asset in Ben McLemore or Otto Porter may seem worth moving their most offensively skilled big man. Surely the Bucks would also like to remain in the 15th spot and be in position to grab a player like Shane Larkin or Dennis Schröder, but it’s likely that that pick would be necessary to complete the trade.
We’ll know more as/if details emerge surrounding this potential deal. This might be a sign that the Bucks’ front office is willing to consider that dreaded word – rebuilding – with an emphasis on building a core of young, talented players. Or it could be yet another of the Bucks’ wheel-spinning draft-centered trades that leave little by way of potential and ensure mediocrity for a few more years. Only time will tell.