Ilyasova reportedly eyeing return to Sixers after buyout
There were a handful of Sixers fans that didn't seem happy about Bryan Colangelo standing pat at the trade deadline. It ended up paying off though as the team signed Marco Belinelli after a buyout with Atlanta, and now, the Sixers could be picking up another Hawks player close to a buyout - Ersan Ilyasova.
According to Shams Charania of Yahoo! Sports, Ilyasova plans to work toward finalizing agreement with the Philadelphia 76ers after he completes his buyout with the Hawks. Marco Belinelli also reached a buyout with the Hawks after the trade deadline, and he was promptly signed by the Sixers.
Ilyasova, 30, has played in 46 games this season, posting averages of 10.9 points and 5.5 rebounds per game while shooting 45.9 percent from the floor and 35.9 percent from beyond the arc. If the Sixers do reach an agreement with Ilyasova, they'll have to waive someone to create room since they only have three players missing time. That means that the NBA would not grant them an injury hardship. Adding a guy like Ersan would further improve a Sixers bench that has struggled for the majority of the season.
When it comes to players that could be waived, the somewhat obvious choice would be Trevor Booker. Acquired from the Nets in the trade that sent Jahlil Okafor to Brooklyn in December, Booker doesn't really have a defined role. He doesn't match well in pairings with Joel Embiid and cannot stretch the floor for shooters either. While his veteran presence and tough, junkyard-dog style of play is good, he seems most likely to get waived.
Ilysova spent time with the Sixers last season after being acquired with a first-round in exchange for Jerami Grant. Ersan served as a mentor for Dario Saric last season, and "The Homie" has been one of the Sixers' best players this season.The Sixers ended up trading Ilyasova to the Hawks before the trade deadline in February 2017 for Tiago Splitter and two second-round picks, one that was traded away and the other used to select draft-and-stash big man Mathias Lessort.
The 30-year-old native of Turkey signed a one-year, $6 million deal in July with Atlanta and was apparently shopped around the deadline, but never expressed an urge to leave the Hawks. That seemed to change over the last few days, when reports surfaced of the Hawks nearing a buyout with Ersan.
Brandon Apter is a contributor to 97.3 ESPN and managing editor at SportsTalkPhilly.com. Follow him on Twitter @bapter23.