The Brooklyn Nets have targeted Milwaukee Bucks restricted free-agent forward Ersan Ilyasova if they fall short of completing a blockbuster trade for Orlando Magic center Dwight Howard, league sources told Yahoo! Sports.
The Bucks have offered Ilyasova a five-year contract worth nearly $40 million, league sources said, and so far have shown no desire to partner in a sign-and-trade deal that the Nets need to acquire him.
Ilyasova, 25, has listened to overtures from other teams and is waiting to see what unfolds. He’s taking two visits to two teams with salary-cap space this week, including the Cleveland Cavaliers, sources said.
Short of a deal for Howard, the Nets are searching for a third team to take their own free agent, Kris Humphries, as part of a sign-and-trade scenario with the Bucks. The third team would potentially be rewarded with future draft picks from the Nets for taking on Humphries. Milwaukee could end up with a trade exception for future use.
So far, the Bucks are unmoved over sign-and-trade options for Ilyasova and are determined to keep him. Ilyasova is a 6-foot-10 power forward who averaged career bests of 13 points and 8.8 rebounds last season. He was a second-round pick for the Bucks from Turkey and came to the NBA three years ago.
Meanwhile, Orlando has shown no interest in taking on Humphries as part of a sign-and-trade, so the Nets are searching for a landing spot for him on both fronts. The Nets would have to convince Orlando to accept restricted free-agent center Brook Lopez as the centerpiece of a Howard deal. The Nets and Lopez have yet to seriously begin discussing a contract extension, presumably waiting for Nets general manager Billy King to exhaust all trade possibilities with Howard before locking Lopez into a deal.
Lopez could command a five-year, $65 million-plus deal from the Nets, and perhaps as much as four years and $50 million on the market as a restricted free agent.
Bosnian forward Mirza Teletovic reached agreement with the Nets on the taxpayer midlevel exception of $3.1 million, which allows Brooklyn to exceed the $74 million salary cap and continue its pursuits of Howard and Ilyasova.
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