Ersan Ilyasova Reportedly Will Sign Jazz Contract for Veteran's MinimumMarch 9, 2021
Veteran forward Ersan Ilyasova will reportedly sign with the Western Conference-leading Utah Jazz for the remainder of the 2020-21 season, according to multiple reports:
Jordan Schultz @Schultz_Report
Pending final bloodwork, free agent forward Ersan Ilyasova will sign vet min deal w/the #Jazz tomorrow, per sources. Ilyasova has already gone through Covid protocol. The 33-year-old played in 63 games last season for the Bucks, averaging 6.6 PPG (36.5 percent 3s) / 4.8 REBS.
Ilyasova, 33, appeared in 63 games for the Milwaukee Bucks last season (eight starts), averaging 6.6 points and 4.8 rebounds while shooting 46.6 percent from the field and 36.5 percent from three.
The veteran forward is a nice addition for the Jazz, giving them a floor-stretching 4 who is famous—or infamous, depending on who you ask—for taking charges on the defensive end.
Utah raced out to a 27-9 record in the first half of the season, the best mark in the NBA, though the Jazz have lost three of their last four, including an epic overtime game vs. the East-leading Philadelphia 76ers.
Utah has produced the league's best record with solid defense (107.8 points allowed per game, fourth in the NBA) and excellent perimeter shooting (39.8 percent from three, third in the league). Ilyasova should help in both regards, pairing with an already solid bench unit that includes Sixth Man of the Year frontrunner Jordan Clarkson, Joe Ingles and Derrick Favors.
But Utah's strong start hasn't exactly garnered them respect around the Association. That was particularly true during the All-Star Draft, when Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert were the last two players selected.
"There's no slander to the Utah Jazz," LeBron James said after he and Kevin Durant, the two All-Star Game captains, held the draft. "You guys gotta understand, just like in video games growing up, we never played with Utah. Even as great as Karl Malone and John Stockton was, we would never pick those guys in video games. Never."
That may have been James attempting to irk the team his Lakers are chasing in the Western Conference standings, though Mitchell said he wasn't focusing on the slight.
"I don't want to be rude, but I really don't care," he told reporters. "People have been talking s--t about me for a while. We're not doing this to seek the approval of [James]."