Hawks re-sign Ersan Illyasova, eyeing other free agents


It looked like the Hawks were moving on from Ersan Illyasova after renouncing his rights last week. However, the Vertical reported late last night that the two sides have reached an agreement for Illyasova to stay in Atlanta for at least another year.

The Turkish stretch forward has bounced all around the NBA since spending his first seven seasons in Milwaukee, playing on five different teams in just the last two seasons. Though, his production rarely staggers. Illyasova has been doing the same thing, putting up the same type of production for years, no matter who he is playing for.

The Hawks traded for Illyasova in the middle of last season for a second-round pick. In 26 games, he averaged 10.4 points and 5.8 rebounds, but this season should be a little different. Atlanta is without nearly all of their star power they possessed last season, and Illyasova could find himself in a starting role this season. He will be competing with Mike Muscala for the role as the primary stretch-four.

Illyasova is just another signing to get the Hawks through this season. It is a team friendly one-year deal that will not handcuff the Hawks financially so they can make much bigger splashes in the future. He should not increase their win total by much, but his veteran presence and professionalism will be welcomed on a very young Hawks team.

The Hawks do not seem to be done just yet either. ESPN’s Marc Spears reported that Atlanta is one of several teams interested in the services of Shabazz Muhammad.

Muhammad sort of lost his way in Minnesota because of the amount of depth they had on the wing, but he could be the exact type of under the radar signing the Hawks are searching for at this point. With Tim Hardaway Jr. heading back to New York, the future for the Hawks at shooting guard is sketchy at best. Muhammad could be the starting shooting guard for the Atlanta next season and may even see the same type of uptick in production that Tim Hardaway Jr. did.

Like Hardaway Jr., the one thing Muhammad can do right now is put the ball in the basket. He is an effecient scorer, averaging almost 10 points a game on 48.2% shooting in under 20 minutes for the Wolves last season. His problems lie on the defensive end and he is not much of a passer. That sounds a lot like Tim Hardaway when he was with the Knicks. Coach Budenholzer is a masterful defensive coach and passing is a lot easier when you are a part of a system that emphasizes it.

Atlanta’s number one priority right now is retaining that flexibility they have created for themselves, but if Muhammad is going at a low price, expect the Hawks to try and get a deal done soon.

If they do not sign Muhammad, Atlanta will still be looking for answers at the guard position. Earlier this week, Chris Vivlamore of the AJC reported that the Hawks were looking to add at least another center, power forward and guard before the start of the season. They have added Dewayne Dedmon and Ersan Illyasova thus far, but still need add some quality depth at both the point guard and shooting guard positions.


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