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.

Rumor: Spurs won’t trade Kawhi Leonard to Western Conference team

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Kawhi Leonard reportedly wants the Spurs to trade him, ideally to the Lakers or Clippers.

Chris Sheridan of Get More Sports:

He is not going to Los Angeles…or any other destination in the Western Conference, sources are telling GetMoreSports.com.

Leonard has some leverage in that he can tell any non-L.A. team that he has no interest in signing an extension after his current deal expires in a year, and that may end up diminishing the value of offers Eastern Conference teams are willing to make.

But if you think that bothers Popovich, you don’t know Popovich. The guy would gladly take 75 cents on the dollar for Kawhi if he could ship him out of the West — even if that upsets Kawhi.

There are two choices here:

The Spurs are a well-run organization that will manage this crisis as effectively as possible.

or

The Spurs will outright refuse to trade Leonard to a Western Conference team.

It can’t be both.

If the Spurs trade Leonard, they should take the best offer they get – no matter who makes it. Teams like the Celtics and 76ers have better assets to dangle. But if the Lakers and Clippers are the only team with assurances Leonard will re-sign next summer, they could offer more, even assembling a package from a shallower pool of assets.

The Spurs shouldn’t worry where Leonard lands. But that doesn’t mean they won’t worry where Leonard lands.

Report: Celtics believe Kyrie Irving happy in Boston

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Chris Mannix reported Kyrie Irving, when he played for the Cavaliers, told teammates of his desire to play for the Knicks. In the same discussion, Mannix speculated on the Celtics’ fear of Irving leaving in 2019 unrestricted free agency. Asked about his future in Boston, Irving gave a cryptic answer.

There’s just no good way to resolve this until summer 2019. As Irving knows, a contract extension is illogical. The largest extension he could sign, beginning July 1, would be four years, $108,053,240 ($27,013,310 annually). If he waits until 2019 free agency, he could re-sign for a projected $188 million over five years (about $38 million annually) – and even more if he makes an All-NBA team next year. In that case, his max would project to be $219 million over five years (about $44 million annually).

So, the Celtics must ride this out – or trade Irving before he gets to free agency. How do they feel about his future with Boston?

Adam Himmelsbach of The Boston Globe:

A league source said Friday that the Celtics believe Irving is happy in Boston and would like to be with the team long-term, but that there are no certainties.

This is probably correct. Irving clearly wanted out of Cleveland, so him longing for a spot on the Knicks made more sense then. Overall, Irving seems happy in Boston. A noncommittal answer from someone whose brand is mysterious ideas doesn’t set off alarms.

That said, also file this under: What else are they supposed to say? The Celtics maximize Irving’s trade value if everyone believes he’s happy and not a flight risk who should be preemptively traded.

The Celtics must closely monitor Irving’s satisfaction with them. If it seems he might leave, they ought to look hard at trading him first.

But it really seems the Celtics aren’t anywhere near that point. If they are, they’ve bluffed well.

J.R. Smith’s Game 1 Finals jersey up for auction

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It was the moment that defined the 2018 NBA Finals.

The score was tied with 4.7 seconds left when George Hill missed his second of two free throws, but J.R. Smith made an impressive play to get the offensive rebound — then tried to dribble out the clock like the Cavaliers were ahead.

Now, you can own Smith’s Game 1 jersey — the one he was wearing when he made a play so thoughtless LeBron James broke his own hand punching a whiteboard in frustration over it. It’s available on the NBA auction site. The bidding goes on for three more days, until June 21.

As of Monday morning, the current bid is $3000.

A Warriors’ fan is going to buy this thing, not a Cavaliers fan. They are still trying to repress this memory.

Kevin Durant’s dad wrote him a nice letter for Father’s Day

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Kevin Durant and his father didn’t have the best relationship growing up. Wayne Pratt, father of the Golden State Warriors star, left Durant and his family when the sharpshooting Finals MVP was just one year old.

Pratt was in and out of Durant’s life, and eventually they reconciled. Now, Pratt is important part of Durant’s career and business decisions.

As several players decided to celebrate their fathers and the national day of recognition on social media, it was actually Pratt who decided to write a letter to his son. In a post on The Undefeated, Pratt spoke about how he was grateful to have Durant as a son and to have reconciled with him.

Via The Undefeated:

I regret missing out on your first day of school, your first haircut, holidays and the first day you picked up a basketball. But I thank God daily for creating the opportunity for us to reconnect. I’m so thankful for you opening your heart at such a tender time. Every parent-child relationship has its ups and downs and we are no exception. I feel fortunate that we have learned how to successfully navigate life’s mistakes. Thank you for forgiving me and allowing us to have the great relationship we have today.

Go back and read the full letter, it’s worth it. Seeing the vulnerability between two grown men living a real, complicated, and adult situation like this is humanizing. Plus, it appears to have had a positive ending for Durant and his pops.

Hope all you dads out there had a good one on Sunday.