The way I read their first-round selection in the NBA draft and their body language afterward, the Bucks are preparing their fan base for Ersan Ilyasova's departure here at the start of free agency.

And that's fine.

The situation is not completely analogous to three years ago, when many were beseeching John Hammond to re-sign Charlie Villanueva and Ramon Sessions.

How did their departures work out for the Bucks? It's hard to recall through the haze of the last two disappointing seasons, but pretty well in 2009-'10, the last time the roster was uncluttered and the team competitive.

Ilyasova really came into his own as an NBA player last season after the Bucks drafted him in the second round seven years ago. They found him in Turkey and developed him to the point that he has become one of the league's most desired scoring power forwards.

The Bucks could offer Ilyasova a five-year contract, whereas suitors would be limited to four. Maybe the Bucks go $35 million, which should be near the limit for a revenue-challenged franchise. If $7 million a year isn't enough, the Bucks should bid him a fond farewell and wish him the best.