Milwaukee Bucks v Chicago Bulls

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


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.

Jimmy Butler wants Mason Plumlee to pay fine after scuffle (video)

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Jimmy Butler and Mason Plumlee got into an altercation in the Bulls’ win over the Trail Blazers last night.

Plumlee lowered his head and tried to barrel through Butler’s chest on a Butler screen. Butler fell and retaliated by putting Plumlee in a leg lock, causing Plumlee to fall.

You might remember a leg lock as what Cavaliers guard Matthew Dellavedova did to Bulls forward Taj Gibson during last year’s playoffs. For all the talk then of Dellavedova being a dirty player, Butler seems particularly aggrieved after getting a technical foul, which comes with a $2,500 fine – the same penalty Dellavedova eventually received. (Plumlee got a flagrant foul.)

Butler, via Vincent Goodwill of CSN Chicago:

“He thought he was playing football for a second there,” Butler said. “Almost had to let the Fort Greene Projects out of me, Brooklyn, you know what I’m saying?”

It was said tongue in cheek considering Gibson was a few feet over and Butler wanted to draw some laughs. Gibson is a Brooklyn native and grew up in the Fort Greene Projects while Butler grew up in Tomball, Texas.

It was no laughing matter when he said he would find a way to approach Plumlee about the fine money, jokingly suggesting he would have his agent email him at “Mr. or something” and made a joke about Mike Dunleavy applauding Plumlee’s act.

Plumlee and Dunleavy are products of Duke University.

“Yeah, he cost me 2,500,” Butler said. “I’m not happy about that. Gonna ask him to pay me back and I’m not playing.”

Is that, or Or is it Dookie?

These are important questions – at least if you’re trying to turn the conversation away from your dirty play and toward your colorful quotes.

Breaking news: Leandro Barbosa dunked


The Warriors became the first team in NBA history to start 16-0.

In the process of getting that record-breaking win over the Lakers, something nearly as historic happened.

Leandro Barbosa dunked.

The 32-year-old Golden State guard last jammed in January 2011.

For a little more perspective, look how Barbosa handled a breakaway layup earlier in the fourth quarter:

You think that man can still slam?

Yes. Yes, he can.

Magic benching Victor Oladipo, starting Channing Frye

Stephen Curry, Victor Oladipo, Channing Frye
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Elfrid Payton, Victor Oladipo, Evan Fournier, Tobias Harris and Nikola Vucevic have started eight of the Magic’s 14 games, including the last three.

But after Orlando dropped two straight, Scott Skiles hinted at lineup changes.

The Magic coach will deliver against the Knicks tonight, swapping Channing Frye for Oladipo.

Skiles, via Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel:

“It’s nothing punitive,” Skiles said after the Magic’s shootaround.

“It’s just we feel like we’ve got to try to find a little bit better balance. I’d like Victor to have some more opportunities like he’s had a little bit in the past where he can be on top of the floor and attack and get a little bit more vertical and not only get to the rim but just be a little bit more on the attack but not necessarily start the game that way.”

Here are the offensive/defensive/net ratings for the

  • Former starting lineup: 94.7/111.2/-16.5
  • New starting lineup: 117.2/90.3/+26.8

The new unit has played just 33 minutes in two games, so major sample-size caveats apply. But I like idea of seeing more of what has worked.

I suspect Skiles also wants to keep his players from becoming content. At 6-8 and coming off three straight seasons outside the playoffs, they should have no reason to feel satisfied, but the hard-driving Skiles will be proactive.

If Oladipo – whose defense Skiles values – can get sent to the bench, anyone can.

At some point, the Magic must determine whether Oladipo and Payton – both below-average 3-point shooters – can share a backcourt. But it’s also worth knowing whether Oladipo can excel as a super sub leading bench players.

This switch might help the Magic win now, but at worse, it’ll give them more information for evaluating their young roster. Seems smart all around.

Dwight Howard says he’s cleared to play back-to-backs

Dwight Howard
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The 5-9 Houston Rockets need some wins.

The Houston Rockets have a back-to-back coming up, Sunday against the Knicks then Monday against the Pistons (both on the road). Two teams with quality big men.

Combine those things and you end up with Dwight Howard being re-evaluated by team doctors and getting the training wheels taken off, via Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle.

This, plus a mini training camp the past few days, is part of new coach J.B. Bickerstaff’s effort to turn Houston’s season around.

Houston’s defense is 1.9 points per 100 possessions better this season when Howard is on the court and the Rockets are stronger on the glass. The problem is the offense is 7.8 points per 100 worse with Howard on the court. How much of that can be changed with some roster tweaks — like limiting the time James Harden and Ty Lawson share the court — and how much is due to Howard demanding touches and not doing enough with them we will find out quickly.