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Ersan Ilyasova was ‘really close’ to signing with Bucks

Ersan Ilyasova

Ersan Ilyasova became an unrestricted free agent a few weeks ago after his contract was bought out by the Atlanta Hawks and the interest from multiple teams quickly happened for the Turkish professional. In the end, Ilyasova would end up choosing the Philadelphia 76ers as he will help them get a quality shooter off the bench.

If the 30-year-old NBA player had to select a second team besides the 76ers, the Milwaukee Bucks were right behind them. According to Racine Journal Times writer Gery Woelfel, Ilyasova was really close from signing with the Bucks.

“We had spoken with (Bucks GM) Jon Horst and (Bucks head coach) Joe Prunty on the phone kind all of those days when I was available,’’ Ilyasova said. “There were some other teams in the mix, too. But, yes, I was interested in coming to Milwaukee.’’

Imagine that combination as the 6-10 player could have been an interesting combo with Giannis Antetokounmpo and Khris Middleton. It would have helped the Bucks out a ton as they desperately need a strong scoring off the bench. However for Illyasova it was all about the amount of minutes he was going to get with his new team selection.

“It was close, really close,’’ Ilyasova said of signing with the Bucks. “The money was similar (between Milwaukee and Philadelphia). Money wasn’t a choice, though. It was playing time and being in a comfortable situation.’’

It clearly was a big decision for Ilyasova as he seemed to have easily been the right fit for either teams. However with prior experience with the 76ers, it seemed the most appropriate choice for the veteran player.

“It was a big decision to make, choosing Philadelphia over Milwaukee,’’ said Ilyasova, who has a home in the Milwaukee area. “But I played with them (the 76ers) last year and I kind of knew what to expect, I kind of knew the rotations and I knew coach (Brett) Brown. I feel very comfortable here.’’

On the season so far, Ilyasova is averaging 20.6 minutes per game with scoring 9.4 points and hauling in 4 rebounds. He is known for his 3-point range but is shooting only 38 percent from behind the arc.