It's official: Ersan Ilyasova is going home. The initial reports we mentioned indicated that Ilyasova would sign a long-term deal with Fenerbahce Ulker, but apparently the deal wasn't as close to done as everyone thought. Today it was announced that Ersan has signed a one-year contract with Anadolu Efes worth about 2.7 million Euros. FIBA announced last week that NBA players with existing contracts would need clauses in their Euro deals requiring them to fulfill their NBA deal if/when the lockout ends, so Ilyasova would be obligated to return to Milwaukee if the lockout is resolved in time to save the upcoming season.
Anadolu Efes, formerly known as Efes Pilsen, is a historically successful Turkish team, having won a number of Turkish leagues and frequently placing high in Euroleague competition, although they failed to make the Euroleague playoffs last season. A number of NBA players have spent time with the club, including Turkish nationals Hedo Turkoglu and Mehmet Okur, Sasha Vujacic (who is currently on the roster), and everyone's favorite former Buck Anthony Mason.
It was also announced that Anadolu Efes will be signing two-year NBA veteran Patrick Mills to play point guard, and that this move was made instead of signing Keyon Dooling. For the time being it would appear that the NBAPA's First Vice President will be staying put.
(h/t We're Bucked for grabbing a lot of this info)
CBSports.com - NBA files suit against NBPA
Yesterday was a very busy day in the NBA lockout saga. The NBA announced that it was suing the NBAPA over unfair labor practices surrounding the Players Association's "unlawful threats to commence a sham 'decertification' and an antitrust lawsuit challenging the NBA's lockout." Billy Hunter responded as one would expect, claiming the suit was "without merit." Bickering likely ensued.
There was a lot of great stuff flying around the internet as these events unfolded. Beckley Mason at Hoopspeak.com wrote up an interesting and expansive opinion on the situation, while Kurt Helin at NBC's ProBasketballTalk explained how the lawsuits could be just what the situation needs to get moving. Finally, Tom Ziller presented the NBA's lawsuits as a text-based adventure.
JS Online: Delfino will play while Bogut will coach
As previously reported, Andrew Bogut will be unable to play for his home country in Olympic qualifying play due to insurance issues, so he will instead offer his talents as an assistant coach. As far as I'm concerned, this is a near best-case scenario for Bucks fans. His desire to play for the Aussies would suggest that he's feeling strong and healthy enough to take the court in serious competition, but instead he'll be forced to rest, which is something most of us are probably glad to hear. It's unfortunate that Australia will be missing its top-notch center, especially since many of us have developed a bit of a soft spot for our friends down under in international play.
Meanwhile, Carlos Delfino will play for the Argentinian National team in the FIBA Americas Championship after reaching an insurance agreement. Argentina is looking to qualify for the 2012 London Olympics during the competition.
Hardwood Paroxysm: The Squid is Back, Milwaukee!
Curtis Harris covers the return of Sidney Moncrief and offers a little more detail on what the Squid has been up to the last few years. He also notes that, while Sid was famous for his defense during his tenure in Milwaukee, he wasn't a slouch on offense. After serving as the shooting specialist for the Golden State Warriors, he can hopefully help shore up what is likely the Bucks' biggest weakness.
FS Southwest: Big-man centers a dying breed in the NBA
Mike Fisher laments the passing of an era, a time when giants roamed the lane and accumulated vast quantities of counting stats. Then he ranks the centers and wonders if Bogut will ever find lasting health. Don't we all, Mike. Don't we all.
The Point Forward: Top 100 NBA Players, Pt. I: Nos. 91-100
Zach Lowe, spurred on by the misery of the lockout, has undertaken the harrowing task of ranking the Top 100 players in the NBA as they stand today. Here are more links to the guys he's ranked so far: 81-90 / 71-80
SBNation.com: NBA General Manager Rankings: David Kahn, Pat Riley, And Everyone In Between
More rankings, this time as Mike Prada counts down the NBA General Managers. John Hammond, who was just outside the top-10 last year, experienced a serious fall from grace when he, as Prada puts it, "morphed into a mover and shaker overnight in 2010". I still maintain that Milwaukee's apparent philosophical shift into something resembling "win-now" mode after the 2010 playoff appearance was a mistake, but it's tough to simply blame Hammond for the entire ordeal. He likely had a decent amount of pressure placed on him by an organization that was starved for success, and I doubt anyone could have predicted the moves he made last summer, debatable as they were, could have backfired as bad as they did.
BrandonJenningsCamp.com: Brandon Jennings Basketball Camp
Know a kid age 7 to 18 who'd like to attend a camp with Bucks point guard Brandon Jennings? Interested in forging a birth certificate with me and signing up?