What Ersan Ilyasova Brings to Sixers This Time

Updated: 9:25 p.m.

MIAMI - He's back.

The Sixers on Wednesday re-signed veteran forward Ersan Ilyasova following his buyout from the Hawks. Ilyasova played 53 games for the Sixers last season before they traded him to Atlanta in exchange for Tiago Splitter.

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In order to clear a roster spot for Ilyasova, the Sixers waived power forward Trevor Booker. He will sign with the Pacers, per multiple reports. The Sixers acquired Booker Dec. 7 of this season from the Nets for Jahlil Okafor, Nik Stauskas and a 2018 second-round pick. Booker averaged 4.7 points and 3.7 rebounds in 33 games for the Sixers. 

Booker was one of only three players (not including Marco Belinelli) with expiring contracts, the easiest kind of contract to include in this type of scenario. Starting shooting guard JJ Redick was not being moved and backup center Amir Johnson adds insurance at the five spot behind Joel Embiid. 

Booker thanked Sixers fans on Twitter.

Ilyasova returns to the Sixers after making a strong impact in his short time. The Sixers first acquired him in October 2016 from the Thunder for Jerami Grant. Ilyasova moved into the starting four spot, adding floor spacing and instant experience to a young lineup.

His addition also gave Dario Saric the opportunity to continue to develop in the NBA off the bench without the pressures of starting.

Ilyasova was a main contributor in the Sixers' 10-5 month of January, a key point for the team that got Embiid thinking playoffs.

"He was great, especially the pairing of both of us," Embiid said earlier this week. "I remember we had great times going back to that January month. Everybody was part of it. But he's a great player, stretch four, he's actually really good defensively. I don't remember the last time any guys on our team took a charge, so he's going to bring that in."

Ilyasova averaged 10.9 points, 5.5 rebounds and shot 36 percent from three in 46 games (40 starts) with the Hawks this season. He adds another boost to the second unit, which the Sixers have been enhancing with veterans since a quiet trade deadline. Earlier this month, they signed shooting guard Belinelli, Ilyasova's teammate on the Hawks this season, after he also was bought out.

"He's a great dude," T.J. McConnell said of Ilyasova. "Great teammate, very talented, and he works super hard. In the short time he was here, he was in the gym relentlessly and it was crazy. He taught me a lot about hard work."

The Sixers will need contributions from Ilyasova. They have lost their last two games against the playoff-contending Wizards and Heat and face the Cavaliers Thursday.

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