Ersan Ilyasova reportedly wants out of Milwaukee

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Ersan Ilyasova is Milwaukee’s longest tenured player. He’s been there for the mediocre times, and he’s been there for the slightly worse than mediocre times.

Over the course of five and a half seasons, the 26 year old forward has had ample opportunity to see exactly how the Bucks operate on every level.

Basically, Ilyasova has seen some real…stuff. Perhaps he’s finally seen enough, in fact, as reported here in the Journal Times.

According to multiple sources, Ilyasova has expressed a desire to be traded, apparently having had his fill of the Bucks’ continual rebuilding project.

Ilyasova downplayed talk about him wanting out of Milwaukee and declined to comment on whether he or his agent, Andy Miller, had requested a trade.

Ilyasova made it clear, though, the Bucks’ revolving door policy with players has irritated him.

“The thing I’m upset about is each year, each season, we go through the same thing,” Ilyasova said. “Last year, we make the playoffs and now we start all over again. That’s really frustrating.

You’ll excuse Ilyasova for not fully understanding what plagues the Bucks. He’s been conditioned to believe that playoff appearances where you get swept by a half-awake Miami Heat team are the goal to strive for.

Milwaukee’s issues don’t stem from “starting all over again”, either. Teams that are starting over don’t sign O.J. Mayo, Gary Neal and Zaza Pachulia to a combined $16.5 million in salary in the offseason with no plan in place. Teams that are starting over don’t trade for the ghost of Caron Butler. The issue isn’t losing guys like Brandon Jennings or Monta Ellis; it’s trying to replace them through the free agency minefield.

The Bucks refuse to bottom out and try to acquire any real difference-makers, and this is the result. They’re on the right path (for now) thanks to pure incompetence (thanks pure incompetence!) and injuries, but it’s understandable if Ilyasova doesn’t want to stick around to see how it plays out.

Ilyasova has three years and $24.2 million left on his deal, though, so moving him might not be so simple. Even if Milwaukee is willing to part with him, which they absolutely should be, Ilyasova’s value hasn’t been this low in quite some time, as he’s shooting 37.5 percent from the field and 29.3 percent from behind the arc while providing his usual brand of matador defense. Long-term investments are scary, and Ilyasova is streaky, injury prone, and basically all the things you don’t want a lengthy investment to be.

That being said, you have to imagine Ilyasova would benefit from playing anywhere that’s not Milwaukee at this point. Other teams realize this, and it sounds like Ilyasova is beginning to realize that himself.

You’d like to think that someone in Milwaukee’s organization would tell Ilyasova that things have to get worse before they get better, that it’s darkest before the dawn and whatnot, but that would require a certain amount of self-awareness that’s completely non-existent in that organization. Get out now and don’t ever look back, Ersan.

Friday afternoon fun: Watch James Harden’s 10 best plays from last season

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James Harden had a historic season in Houston.

Since it’s Friday afternoon and your sports viewing options consist of watching guys about to be cut from NFL rosters try to impress, why not check out Harden’s best plays from last season. It’s worth a couple minutes of your time.

Mavericks sign Jeff Withey to one-year contract

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Jeff Withey‘s ex-fiancée accused him of domestic violence, but he was not charged.

That frees him to continue his basketball career, which he’ll do in Dallas.

Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports:

The Mavericks could use another center, even if they re-sign Nerlens Noel. Salah Mejri is the only other true center, though Dirk Nowitzki will now play the position.

Withey is a good rim protector. Just don’t ask him to do anything away from the basket.

Dallas annually brings excess players to training camp and has them compete for regular-season roster spots. Whether or not his salary is guaranteed, Withey will likely fall into that competition.

Marc Gasol: If Grizzlies don’t share my goal of continued growth, we might have to revisit things

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The Grizzlies’ Grit & Grind era has ended.

Zach Randolph signed with the Kings, and Tony Allen appears likely to leave Memphis, too. The Grizzlies are prioritizing younger/cheaper players like Ben McLemore and Tyreke Evans.

Marc Gasol via Ala Carta, as translated by HoopsHype:

I’m very ambitious and I’ve wanted Memphis to be a great franchise. We’ve grown a lot the last 6-7 years, but we have to keep growing. If this is not lined up, maybe we may have to revisit things.

Gasol has been loyal to Memphis, and his first wish is probably winning there. But Giannis Antetokounmpo put it well: Teams must also do right by their players. Gasol is 32 and doesn’t have much time in his prime left. I see why rebuilding wouldn’t interest him.

But what will he do about it if the Grizzlies don’t prioritize the present? They made their push last summer with a max contract for Chandler Parsons, but because Parsons can’t stay healthy, that deal only inhibits team growth.

Gasol is locked up for two more years before a player option. He doesn’t have much leverage. This is part of the reason LeBron James keeps signing short-term contracts. Gasol doesn’t have the same ability to steer his team in his desired direction

On the potentially bright side, rebuilding teams often don’t have much use for 32-year-olds guaranteed more than $72 million over the following three years. If the fit devolves, Memphis becomes more likely to trade him.

Celtics to retire Paul Pierce’s number after Cavaliers game in February

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The Celtics already said they’d retire Paul Pierce’s No. 34.

Now, we know when.

Celtics release:

The Boston Celtics announced today that they will retire Paul Pierce’s No. 34 after a mid-season game against the Cleveland Cavaliers on Sunday, Feb. 11

After? That’s apparently in response to a new rule that penalizes teams not ready to play after a 15-minute halftime. These ceremonies can drag on, and nobody wants to cut Pierce short. I wonder whether this will start a trend of number retirements coming after games.