Nets Reportedly Pursuing Ersan Ilyasova as Dwight Howard Insurance Policy

Alex BallentineFeatured ColumnistJuly 4, 2012

NEWARK, NJ - MARCH 12:  Ersan Ilyasova #7 of the Milwaukee Bucks looks on during warm ups against the New Jersey Nets at Prudential Center on March 12, 2012 in Newark, New Jersey.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Chris Chambers/Getty Images)
Chris Chambers/Getty Images

The Brooklyn Nets have targeted Turkish big man Ersan Ilyasova through free agency as a backup plan if they are unable to come to terms on a trade for star center Dwight Howard, according to Yahoo! Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski:

Y! Sources: Nets target Ersan Ilyasova -- Plan B for Dwight Howard - has 5-year, nearly $40M offer to stay with Bucks.

— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) July 4, 2012


The 25-year-old Ilyasova was one of 2012's biggest surprises, as the power forward averaged 13.0 PPG and 8.8 RPG and started 41 games for the Milwaukee Bucks. As Wojnarowski reports, the Bucks have offered Ilyasova a five-year, $40 million deal to remain with the team.

As an unrestricted free agent, the Bucks will not have the right to match any offer that Ilyasova receives, and it will be completely up to him to choose which team he will join.

The Nets remain one of the most intriguing teams this offseason, as they were able to retain Deron Williams and made a deal to bring Atlanta Hawks guard Joe Johnson on board. Brooklyn has very publicly been pursuing Howard through a trade, but at this point, a deal seems unlikely.

With a backcourt of Williams and Johnson, the Nets are well on their way to building a contender, and while Howard would put them over the top, it's always important to have an insurance policy.

If the Nets are able to sign Ilyasova in the wake of failing to trade for Howard, they would still have a promising young frontcourt, with Ilyasova teaming up with 2011's Euroleague star Mirza Teletovic and Brook Lopez already on the roster.