Ersan Ilyasova, a Turkish forward who has bounced between the NBA and Europe, has reportedly agreed in principle to a three-year deal with Fenerbahce in Turkey. Ilyasova has one year remaining on his contract with the Milwaukee Bucks, which complicates the whole "three-year deal" thing, as Dan Sinclair of SB Nation's Brew Hoop notes.
The Bucks have surely been anticipating this development. Even before the lockout, there were rumors Ersan wanted to leave Milwaukee and return to Europe. John Hammond's immediate response, "he's under contract," seemed to indicate the Bucks' desire to keep him, although it hardly sounded like a vote of confidence and it certainly wasn't going to close the book on the matter entirely.
The Bucks have been shopping Ilyasova, the odd man out in a crowded if underwhelming frontcourt, for some time. He's a bit of a commodity, a solid rotation player on a cheap ($2.5 million) deal who just turned 24. He's signed through the end of the 2011-12 season. So how can he sign a three-year deal? The contract could be structured as such that he'd be forced to return to the Bucks -- or a team he's traded to -- should the '11-12 season happen, and then can return to Fenerbahce for the 2012-13 season.
Ilyasova played for Fenerbahce before coming to the Bucks in 2005. He actually didn't play a minute for Milwaukee as a rookie, instead making his mark in the D-League. He did play in 66 games in his second year, but instead of signing a new deal with the Bucks as a restricted free agent, he signed in Spain for two years. He then returned to the NBA, signing a three-year deal through 2012 with Milwaukee.