Dwayne Wade and LeBron James took in a Marquette game at the Bradley Center. They will be back there again tonight against the Bucks.(Jeff Hanisch-US PRESSWIRE)

Milwaukee Bucks Links: The Courting Ersan Edition

Racine Journal Times: February is the month of courtship.  And according to Gery Woelfel, there are teams aplenty after free-agent-to-be Ersan Ilyasova.

“I have offers from five teams in Europe,” Ilyasova said. “They want to buy out my contract now. The Bucks won’t do it.”

Ilyasova wouldn’t divulge the five European teams that are courting him, but it doesn’t take a basketball genius to figure out why the Bucks aren’t willing to let him go just yet.

Ersan has made huge strides this season.  His offensive and defensive rebounding rates (the number of Bucks’ and opponents’ misses he collects) are at career-high levels:  11.5% and 25.4%, respectively.  The Bucks are going to lean on him to nab boards without Bogut, but to be honest, Ilyasova was Milwaukee’s best rebounder when Bogut was in the lineup, too.  And even when he can’t get a rebound, he has been a master of tipping a ball to keep it alive.

He has shot three-pointers at a career-best 38.5%, too.  If he does end up leaving after the season, it will be a huge blow to the Bucks.

NBA.com: Steve Aschburner takes a thorough and thoughtful look at the unlikely turnaround of the Bucks.  Despite the injuries to Bogut and others, despite the devolution of the Stephen Jackson situation, things are looking up at the Bradley Center.

And yet, just when you think the Bucks might have built their practice facility on someone’s ancient, sacred burial ground …

An unexpected thing has been happening for Milwaukee. It might not last. It could, in fact, fizzle at any moment. But the Bucks have come together to win three of their last four, beginning with the game in Houston. After a loss to the Bulls on Friday, they went home and beat the Lakers on Saturday, which might not mean what it used to but was still feel-good for Milwaukee and its fans. Then they toyed with Detroit on Monday at Bradley Center.

Journal Sentinel: The Bucks brought in Stephen Jackson and Mike Dunleavy during the offseason, but Carlos Delfino (another free-agent-to-be) is still playing, producing, and starting.  Delfino is not having a great shooting year, but Charles F. Gardner takes a look at what Carlos can do on the other floor.  Scott Skiles trusts him there, too.

“We know because we have him,” Skiles said, “but Carlos is a very underrated defender. I don’t know if around the league he would have the reputation of being a defender, but he should.

“He has nice size. He has good thickness to his body and he likes to do it (defend). He tries to get after people. He’s always had good hands.



Brew Hoop: Steve von Horn breaks down a half-court set that the Bucks employed to free Shaun Livingston for a dunk in Houston.

…and finally all over the Web (1, 2, 3, 4, 5):  The Stephen Jackson saga is a mess.  From the sounds of their quotes, the members of the Bucks’ upper hierarchy aren’t exactly running to Jack’s defense.

Bucks general manager John Hammond declined comment Tuesday on whether Jackson had asked to be traded.

“We’re always looking to improve all situations for our team and within our team if it’s a possibility,” Hammond said. (Journal Sentinel)

Might a melodrama on the side be a good thing?  Could it function as a shielding umbrella, sucking away unwanted media attention as the rest of the team jells?

Or is it a pit of quicksand at the ready, willing and able to suck in all parties?  The next few weeks should go a long way to determining the outcome.

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Tags: Carlos Delfino Ersan Ilyasova Milwaukee Bucks Stephen Jackson

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