Friday, October 2, 2009

Ilyasova reveals offers from Olympiakos and Barcelona

ST. FRANCIS -- For professional athletes, it's all about the money, right? Well, maybe not for all of them.
Take Ersan Ilyasova, the Milwaukee Bucks' intriguing young forward. Ilyasova played last season for Regal FC Barcelona in the Spanish League, and he played quite well.

His impressive play and his appealing upside made the 6-foot-9 Ilyasova an attractive free-agent prospect over the summer. The Bucks were just one of several options for him, and they were certainly weren't the best one -- at least from a financial standpoint.

According to Ilyasova, FC Barcelona made a serious pitch to retain him, offering a lucrative, five-year offer. Ilyasova said he also got a sweet offer from Olympiakos, the Athens-based powerhouse. Olympakos had a four-year, guaranteed contract on the table for him. Ilyasova wouldn't disclose the monetary numbers for the FC Barcelona or Olympiakos offers, but conceded it was "more money than the Bucks.''

The Bucks signed Ilyasova to a three-year, $7 million deal. Ilyasova wouldn't have signed on the dotted line with the Bucks if Tolga Tugsavul, Ilyasova's agent, had his druthers. "He wanted me to stay in Europe,'' Ilyasova said. Ilyasova, who was born in Eskisehir, Turkey, certainly wouldn't have had an issue if he continued plying his craft in Europe.

But Ilyasova, a fiercely independent individual, wasn't about to let his agent sway his opinion, much less determine his future. "The agent is to bring the offers,'' Ilyasova said, "but the decision is me.''

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