Sports / Utah Jazz / 
Milwaukee Bucks forward Ersan Ilyasova (7) in the second half of an NBA basketball game Monday, March 9, 2020, in Denver. The Nuggets won 109-95. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

AP Photo/David Zalubowski

Jazz to sign veteran forward Ersan Ilyasova

By Ryan Miller, | Posted - Mar. 9, 2021 at 1:29 p.m.

SALT LAKE CITY — Due to NBA roster rules, the Utah Jazz needed to add another player this week.

They got their man in former Milwaukee Bucks forward Ersan Ilyasova.

The 33-year-old NBA veteran is set to sign a minimal deal with the Jazz, has confirmed. ESPN's Jordan Schultz was first to report the news. Ilyasova is going through final medical testing ahead of the contract being signed.

Ilyasova has played 12 NBA seasons, mostly with the Bucks, and averaged 6.6 points and 4.8 rebounds in 15 minutes per game last season. He was waived by Milwaukee in November.

The Jazz roster was down to 13 players (plus two on two-way contracts) after waiving Shaq Harrison on Feb. 24. NBA rules state teams are required to carry 14 players but can dip below that minimum for two weeks at a time. So the Jazz had until Wednesday to fill the empty spot.

There were a number of other options the Jazz could have used for the 14th spot: 10-day contracts, promoting one of their two-way players, or test out the buy-out market. Utah could have also combined a couple of those choices and used 10-day contracts to buy some time to get a better idea of what the buy-out market would actually look like before making a decision.

In the end, they opted to bring a veteran forward that hadn't yet found a team this season onto the roster.

So how does Ilyasova fit with the Jazz?

He's a career 36% 3-point shooter — the same percentage shot last season with Milwaukee — and somewhat of a decent rebounder. If nothing else, the Jazz are getting a 6-foot-10 reserve forward that will space the floor and be tall enough to grab a board if Utah needs to look to its deep bench.

Like Harrison before him, there isn't a big role awaiting Ilyasova in Salt Lake City. It doesn't seem likely he'll be taking minutes away from Bojan Bogdanovic or even Georges Niang in Utah's regular rotation. In fact, a look at last year's playoffs might just show what is in store for Ilyasova in Utah.

In the Bucks' playoff run in the bubble, Ilyasova played in just three games, averaging 3.0 points in 7.8 minutes. He didn't appear in any of the contests during Milwaukee's second-round series where it fell to the Miami Heat. In the end, it was a very-limited role or a did not play.

With the Jazz entering the second half of the season with the league's top record, don't expect much to change in Quin Snyder's rotation, even with a new veteran on the roster. Still, it's not bad to have another tall forward who can knock down a 3.


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