Ersan Ilyasova will reportedly sign a five-year, $45 million deal to stay with the Milwaukee Bucks. The Sacramento Kings were never mentioned as being in the Ilyasova race, despite the strongest prayers Aykis16 could offer. But resolution on the Ilyasova front does help resolve the uncertainty facing the Kings on two other power forwards, Jason Thompson and Ryan Anderson.
Ilyasova is more highly thought of than Thompson, the Kings' restricted free agent. Sacramento has reportedly offered J.T. a multi-year deal starting at $6 million. (Assuming it is a traditional deal with traditional raises allowable under the new collective bargaining agreement, that means it'd be $19.4 million for three years [$6.4 million per year], $26.7 million for four years [$6.7 million per year] or $34.5 million for five years [$6.9 million per year].)
With Ilyasova at $9 million per year, Thompson seems to be in the proper zone with that Kings' offer. Ilyasova had stronger numbers than Thompson, and his alternate is Drew Gooden. J.T.'s is Thomas Robinson. Thompson is also almost a year older. He should make less than Ilyasova.
But what of Anderson?
Anderson scores better than Ilyasova thanks to the three-point shooting, but is a far inferior rebounder to either Ilyasova or Thompson. He scores more efficiently, and is a worse defender. Were I setting the market, based on Anderson's fairly rare skillset for a power forward, I'd offer what Ilyasova is getting (though obviously the Kings couldn't go to a fifth year for another team's free agent). That'd put the offer at $36 million over four years, with a starting salary of $8.5 million. (If you frontloaded the deal to put extra pressure on Orlando's luxury tax bill, it'd be about $9.7 million in the first year, $9.3 million in the second year, $8.9 million in the third and $8.5 million in the fourth.)
Four years, $36 million? The Magic matches that, I think. That's a steal for a starting power forward of Anderson's caliber. This is the tricky reality of a sane market for power forwards: because Anderson is restricted, you really do have to overpay to pry him away in this case. Anderson shouldn't make appreciably more than Ilyasova, but if another team (like the Kings) wants to prevent Orlando from matching, they need to get up around $40 million for four years, or maybe higher. By definition, Anderson will be overpaid compared to his closest peer in this free agent period.
The best bet to land Anderson at a sane price? Work out a sign-and-trade deal with the Magic. The Kings wouldn't have to send back salary because the team has cap room, and a pick may do the trick for a rebuilding Orlando club. If Anderson truly wants to be back home in Sacramento, he might not care that he can get a more lucrative deal by continuing to play offering teams' fears against Orlando's intentions. A sign-and-trade would ensure he chooses where he plays.
Unfortunately, Orlando seems pretty tied up in the whole Dwight Howard saga, and while I have no doubt that new Magic GM Rob Hennigan can do two things effectively at the same time, the entire future of that club sort of revolves around what happens in the Dwightmare. So the holding pattern continues ...