Report: Nets interested in trading for Ersan Ilyasova (but don’t bet on it)

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Over the summer the Nets pursued (without great vigor) Ersan Ilyasova, a stretch four they wanted to add to a front line that already had a good shooting center in Brook Lopez. At least Ilyasova can rebound.

They didn’t get him. Ilyasova re-signed with Milwaukee for five years, $40 million. The Nets responded by re-signing Kris Humphries for two years ($24 million).

But the Nets are still interested in getting Ilyasova via trade, and following a disappointing start to the season for him that has led to erratic minutes and the Bucks being willing to talk. The respected Bucks beat writer Gery Woelfel of the Journal-Times speaking on WSSP radio in Milwaukee. The blog Nets Daily heard it and transcribed what he said.

“Ersan Ilyasova, you know, during the summer was courted by a handful of teams, by the Bucks but most seriously by the Bucks, Nets and Raptors and I have it on very good authority that the Nets are still trying to pursue Ersan and trying to figure out a way in which to obtain him. I think that’s something to keep an eye on as we got forward here.”

As always, the devil is in the details. Or in this case, the pretty big details of who the Nets would send back. Nets Daily broke the talk down this way.

Under questioning by the show’s host, Robert Haack Diamond of WSSP Milwaukee, Woelfel admits “it’s going to hard” to get done. The two talk about players that the Bucks might be interested in, specifically MarShon Brooks and Tyshawn Taylor, but both note that their contracts are too small to come close to matching Ilyasova’s $7.9 million this season. Woelfel says the Bucks wouldn’t be interested in Andray Blatche.

Ilyasova’s numbers have reverted back to close but slightly below what they were two seasons ago, not building off last season in his contract year. Shocking. After shooting 45.5 percent from three last season he is down to 31.3 percent this season, which makes him not a very stretchy stretch four. Ilyasova is shooting just 39.9 percent overall. He’s not a very good defender (especially if you can get him isolated in space), so unless he’s knocking down shots it’s hard to give him minutes. And Scott Skiles has cut those back at points, including bringing him off the bench, to Ilyasova’s displeasure.

It is possible a deal gets done here, but I can’t imagine the Nets want to give up much of actual value to make this work.

LeBron James: Resting became a problem only because I’m involved

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1. The Cavaliers rested LeBron James against the Clippers on Saturday (and also sat Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love).

2. NBA commissioner Adam Silver sent a memo to teams threatening to crack down on how they rest players.

How related are those events?

LeBron, via Joe Vardon of Cleveland.com:

“I love what Adam is doing for our league but I don’t see how that (would help),” James said Tuesday. “I don’t understand why it’s become a problem now, because I sit out a couple games?”

When a reporter suggested to James that Silver’s reasons for sending the memo may stretch beyond his not playing in Cleveland’s 30-point loss in a national TV game Saturday, James disagreed.

“That is the case. It’s absolutely the case,” James insisted.

And when it was mentioned that the week before, in a game that, like the Cavs’ loss to the Clippers was televised on ABC, Warriors coach Steve Kerr sat Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green, and Andre Iguodala from a game against the Spurs, James said: “Come on, man. You guys know the real.”

“Listen, Pop’s been doing this for 10 years, 12 years, 15 years and everybody was like, ‘You know what? That’s the smartest thing Pop has ever done,” James said. “Give his guys a couple games off and here they go and win five championships. That’s the smartest thing.’

But some of our coaches in our league don’t have the stature that Pop has and our head coach doesn’t have it so he gets killed for it. So, I got to keep winning to help my coach be able to have a reason why he can sit his players.”

Gregg Popovich resting players got the Spurs fined $250,000 in 2012. The San Antonio coach certainly hasn’t drawn universal lauding for his resting strategy.

This remains a contentious issue, and the battle lines aren’t drawn around LeBron – at least not as much as he suggests here.

The same people who praise Popovich for resting players supported Tyronn Lue (and Steve Kerr and every other coach who has rested players). The same people upset about LeBron resting were also bothered by Popovich resting players. LeBron is comparing two disparate sets of observers.

That said, there is a difference with LeBron involved.

This hasn’t taken on an enhanced profile because other coach’s lack Popovich’s stature. It’s because LeBron is such a big star.

LeBron attracts attention unlike any Spur, and when he sits, ratings suffer. The league’s TV partners dislike teams resting players, and those companies are paying enough to have their voices heard. LeBron – the NBA’s highest-profile star since Michael Jordan – resting adds urgency, but this issue has been percolating for years.

This didn’t suddenly become a problem because of LeBron. He was just the spark that turned an occasional issue into one that suddenly feels much more pressing.

Russell Westbrook becomes first player with triple-double and perfect shooting

AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki
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Triple-doubles have become more commonplace than ever – especially by Russell Westbrook, who already has 35 this season.

So, Westbrook’s 21 points, 14 assists and 11 rebounds in the Thunder’s win over the 76ers tonight might not seem earthshattering.

But also consider that he went 6-for-6 from the field and 6-for-6 from the line.

ESPN Stats & Info:

James Harden had an awesome game-winner and quote earlier this week. Now, Westbrook responds with this historic triple-double.

This is an all-time great MVP race.

Chris Paul’s son joins him on Clippers bench in rout of Lakers (video)

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Is this disrespectful to the Lakers? Absolutely.

And I love it.

Chris Paul and the Clippers crushed their Los Angeles counterparts, 133-109, last night. The Clippers, who’ve won 13 of 14 in the series, have practically run out of ways to show up their crosstown rival on the court. If it now takes bench visitors, so be it.

This is the best late-blowout bench behavior since LeBron James led the Cavaliers in the water-bottle challenge in a December win over the Knicks. This would rank higher if Chris Jr. didn’t also joined the bench in the Clippers’ November win over the Mavericks, which is the pictured on this post.

Jawun Evans leaving Oklahoma State for NBA draft

AP Photo/Michael Conroy
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You’ve probably heard of the top college point guards for the 2017 NBA draft: Markelle Fultz, Lonzo Ball, Dennis Smith Jr., De’Aaron Fox and Malik Monk. You might have even heard of French point guard prospect Frank Ntilikina.

Which point guard will be drafted next after those six?

One possibility: Oklahoma State’s Jawun Evans.

Evan Daniels of Scout:

Evans looks like a second-round pick, but a dearth of point guards projected into the latter half of the first round could boost his stock.

He’s ultra quick and ultra aggressive and led the nation’s top KenPom offense. Evans relentlessly attacks the rim, often while forcing transition opportunities. That gets defenses scrambled, creating kickout-passing lanes and offensive-rebound opportunities.

However, the 6-foot Evans doesn’t finish that well at the rim – creating a major question about how he’ll translate to the NBA. The bigger defenders in the paint might limit his kickout passes, too.

His size also presents major problems defensively, though a 6-foot-4 wingspan at least helps.

Evans is good enough on jumpers to keep defenses honest, and at Oklahoma State, he had to create so much for himself. It’d be interesting to see whether limiting his burden improves his efficiency or whether his helpfulness is limited to having the ball in his hands.

My guess is the latter, and I’m unconvinced he’s good enough to demand such a role in the NBA. But the possibility is strong enough that I’d be excited about rolling the dice on him in the second round.