Dollars Ahead for Bucks’ Ilyasova

Ersan Ilyasova (6'10''-F-87) is in line for a lucrative payday this summer, when he will be an unrestricted free agent. Milwaukee Bucks general manager John Hammond has said the team wants to re-sign the 6-foot-10 power forward, who has made major strides in the final year of a three-year, $7 million contract he signed in the summer of 2009. But there could be plenty of competition for Ilyasova's services, both inside and outside the National Basketball Association. Ilyasova played for Anadolu Efes in his native Turkey during the lockout last summer, and he played two seasons for Regal FC Barcelona after leaving the Bucks following the 2006-'07 season. Wherever he goes, Ilyasova said Thursday that winning is of the utmost importance. It's clear that Ilyasova puts a priority on the Bucks' playoff push and is eager to get into the postseason. 'I'm not really concerned about it (a new contract) and I don't really want to think about it,' Ilyasova said after the Bucks' practice session at the Cousins Center. 'I don't want it to be something that affects my game. 'All I care about now is to win games and be in the playoffs. When the season is over, we'll see what the options are and discuss with my manager.' Ilyasova is a 'stretch' power forward in the NBA vernacular, a player who can shoot effectively from three-point range and also score on the interior. He has improved his shooting dramatically, hitting 49.3% from the field and 41.9% from three-point range. Those marks compare with 43.6% shooting last season and a 29.8% mark from three-point distance. He has made 36 of 86 three-pointers after going 36 of 121 a year ago. He has played in 51 games, making 32 starts, and is averaging 12.8 points and a team-leading 8.7 rebounds in 27.5 minutes per game. Ilyasova is building a strong case for the league's most improved player award and is on pace to become the first NBA player to average 12 points and eight rebounds in fewer than 28 minutes per game since Portland's Arvydas Sabonis and Boston's Robert Parrish did it in the 1990s. In February Ilyasova became the third member of the Bucks' 25/25 club when he had career highs of 29 points and 25 rebounds in a Milwaukee victory at New Jersey. Read the full story here >>>
 

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