Any angst Ersan Ilyasova may have harbored after learning he had been traded by the Milwaukee Bucks to the Detroit Pistons Thursday quickly and emphatically faded away with just one phone call.
Ilyasova said he spoke with Detroit coach Stan Van Gundy, who made it abundantly clear the veteran forward would play an integral role for the Pistons next season.
“I spoke with coach Van Gundy for about 20 minutes and he shared his plans for me and the team next season,’’ Ilyasova said. “Coach Van Gundy said he was following me since he was coaching in Orlando several years ago and he really liked the way I played and how I fit into the system.
“It’s exciting, for sure. I think it’ll work out good for me and it will be the right fit for me. It’s going to be a fresh start.’’
Ilyasova had spent his entire NBA career with Milwaukee after the Bucks made him a second-round selection in the 2005 draft, the 36th overall selection. He was a double-digit scorer the last four seasons, including 11.5 points per game last season.
Ilyasova also developed into one of the league’s elite perimeter shooters and should provide the Pistons with a much-needed “Stretch 4’’.
He is a 37 percent career 3-point shooter and shot a white-hot 45.5 percent from beyond the arc for the 2011-12 season and 44.4 percent for the 2012-2013 season. This season, he shot 38.9 percent on treys.
Ilyasova, who was dealt for Racine native Caron Butler and Shawne Williams, was a part-time starter for the Bucks last season, playing in 58 games and starting 36 of them.
However, he could be the Pistons’ full-time starter as veteran Greg Monroe will become an unrestricted free agent on July 1. There is strong speculation Monroe will sign with either New York or Boston.
While the 28-year-old Ilyasova is thrilled to join the Pistons, he acknowledged there were some drawbacks to the trade. His plans to play for Turkey’s national team this summer are now up in the air and he’s leaving behind some close friends.
“I was going to play for the national team, but with all these changes, moving to a new city, playing for a new team, I’m not so sure now,’’ said Ilyasova, who intends to fly to Detroit Sunday night to meet with Van Gundy and be a part of a press conference tentatively scheduled for Tuesday. “It’s a whole different story now. I got to measure all those things.
“And I’ll miss Milwaukee, for sure. I spent a lot of time here. I have a lot of friends here. And they (the Bucks) have a good thing going. Hopefully, it’ll work out for them. I wish them the best of luck.’’
Bucks director of scouting Billy McKinney heaped praise on Kevon Looney, the former Milwaukee Hamilton and UCLA standout, after the latter’s workout Thursday.
“We were all impressed,’’ McKinney said, referring to the Bucks’ officials in attendance. “He’s only 19. He has tremendous growth.’’
Some neutral observers didn’t quite share McKinney’s sentiments, though. They felt the 6-foot-9 Looney had an ordinary workout, failing to be aggressive and not making plays.
It was Looney’s sixth workout. He had previously worked out for Oklahoma City, Phoenix, Utah, Detroit and Atlanta. All of those teams are picking in the eight (Detroit) to 15 (Milwaukee) range.
It isn’t often an NAIA player auditions for a pro team, but that’s what happened Wednesday when Alex Marzette of Robert Morris (Ill.) College worked out for the Bucks. Marzette, who played at Case High School, got a last-minute call when Wyoming forward Larry Nance had to cancel his workout. … Speaking of cancellations, Utah point guard Delon Wright, a projected mid-to-late first-rounder, has informed Bucks officials he won’t be working out for them. … Rumors persist Sacramento coach George Karl will make a play for Ty Lawson, who played for Karl in Denver. … With less than two weeks before the draft, you would think the draft boards would be settled. Not so. UNLV shooting guard Rashad Vaughn, once considered a late-first round choice, is climbing the charts to the point where some NBA officials now contend he’ll be off the board when the Bucks pick at 17.