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The Worst Bucks Contract of the Last Decade: Young Ersan Takes Home the 10-Spot

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Turkish Thunder is off the board first

Milwaukee Bucks v Charlotte Hornets Photo by Kent Smith/NBAE via Getty Images

When the Milwaukee Bucks inked Ersan Ilyasova to a 5-year, $40M contract back in 2012, they anticipated the young Turkish forward would be a fulcrum of their team for several years. He became the second highest paid player on the team for 2012-13, right behind Monta Ellis’s $11M have-it-all deal. His deal was the first voted off the worst Bucks contract cove, and likely with good reason. Until he signed this fresh contract, Ersan had proven himself on his rookie deal with Milwaukee. He was coming off seasons averaging 10.4, 9.5 and then 13 points per game.

That 2011-12 season in particular probably sealed this deal for the Mequon man, with averages of 13 points, 8.8 rebounds and a career-high 3.1 free throw attempts per game. Not to mention his 45.5 3-point percentage, albeit on just 1.9 attempts per contest. He seemed primed for a potential breakout as a core player, although he never averaged more than the 27.6 minutes he had from 2011-13. Looking at net plus-minus per 100 possessions, the team generally played better with him on the court, going +2.6 in 2012-13, then -0.5 and +0.4. To have only -.5 during that abysmal 2013-14 season is saying something, and this general trend of teams playing at least even, if not a little above average, while on the court has continued for most of his seasons in the NBA.

During these particular years, it held true with Milwaukee, and individually, he notched two of his best three years in terms of PER while on this particular contract with the Bucks. Was he worth that type of money though? Despite solid numbers for him, Ersan was the second-highest paid Buck for three straight seasons but rarely lived up to that type of billing. Here’s where he ranked on the team in terms of points per game, win shares and PER for those three years.

  • 2012-13: 3rd in PPG, 1st in Win Shares, 3rd in PER (minimum 500 minutes)
  • 2013-14: 5th in PPG, 7th in WS, 7th in PER
  • 2014-15: 6th in PPG, 6th in WS, 3rd in PER

Besides that 2012-13 year, I’m not sure Ersan ever really lived up to the dollars he received from Kohl, Hammond and company. Still, he remained a valuable part of those early 2010’s Bucks teams, before Milwaukee ultimately traded him away in June 2015 to the Pistons for Caron Butler and Shawne Williams. In other words, cap relief. Credit to you Ersan for keeping on trucking for years afterwards.

From the Archives

So, what did people thing of the signing at the time? All in all, once it was clarified that the contract wasn’t in fact a 5-year, $45M guaranteed contract as initially reported, but instead just 5-year, $40M with the final year as a team option, there was some general hesitation towards handing that much to a role player. Here’s a good line from Steve Von Horn’s great breakdown of early murmurings over the contract, although this was before it was clear the contract had just $32M guaranteed:

To think Ersan will be a serviceable stretch-PF is certainly reasonable, but $9M contracts aren’t dished out for a player to be just serviceable. My favorite line on a potential Ersan signing has been “you could certainly do worse,” but that’s not something I particularly want to say about the player paid the most long-term cash on the Bucks. I repeat: Ersan Ilyasova is set to become the player with the largest long-term commitment on the Milwaukee Bucks.

Here’s a nice divulging of cap details from Frank Madden as well.

Brew Hoop Worst Contract of the Last Decade Ranking

10. Ersan Ilyasova (2012; 5-year, $40M; team option last year)


So, let’s keep the contest trucking along! Remember that we’re voting for the BEST contract out of these, thank you to all for following the directions so well last time. I’ll be leaving this poll open over most of the weekend, so look for the number 9 winner on Monday.

Poll

What is the BEST Bucks contract out of this bad bunch?

This poll is closed

  • 10%
    2010 John Salmons (5-year, $39M; partially guaranteed last year)
    (27 votes)
  • 3%
    2010 Drew Gooden (5-year, $32M)
    (9 votes)
  • 28%
    2013 O.J. Mayo (3-year, $24M)
    (77 votes)
  • 7%
    2013 Larry Sanders (4-year, $44M)
    (19 votes)
  • 8%
    2015 John Henson (4-year, $44M)
    (22 votes)
  • 7%
    2016 Matthew Dellavedova (4-year, $38.5M)
    (20 votes)
  • 8%
    2016 Mirza Teletovic (3-year, $30M)
    (22 votes)
  • 8%
    2016 Miles Plumlee (4-year, $52M)
    (22 votes)
  • 18%
    2017 Tony Snell (4-year, $44M)
    (50 votes)
268 votes total Vote Now

This poll will end at 10 pm, Sunday, May 10.