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Odds & Ends: Ilyasova, Stevenson, Thunder, Calipari

After inking a lucrative five-year deal, Bucks forward Ersan Ilyasova vows that he won't rest on his laurels, writes Gery Woelfel of the Journal Times.  While some players have let themselves go after getting money similar to his guaranteed $31.6MM over four years (with an $8.4MM option for year five), Ilyasova plans to do just the opposite.  “It doesn’t work that way for me,” Ilyasova said.  “That’s not my nature.  The thing with this contract … there comes responsibility with it. People are expecting more, so that’s why I spent the summer working with a coach to try and improve myself.”  More from around the Association..

  • Chad Ford of (Insider subscription req'd) writes that a full NBA minor league system would make the draft deeper and help unearth a player like Jeremy Lin more quickly.  Currently, NBA teams keep a database of between 100 and 150 players that they actively scout with the idea of narrowing the board down to 60 players.  A deeper draft would obviously make use of more scouting reports.
  • Hawks veteran DeShawn Stevenson was excited to join the club after coming over in the Joe Johnson trade, writes Chris Vivlamore of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.  While Atlanta is stocked with shooters, Stevenson is quick to note that he also played with a similar cast in Dallas.
  • J.A. Adande of runs down ten things to watch for in the Western Conference this season.  Adande cautions that this could be the end of the Thunder as we know them with James Harden's contract situation in limbo.  Adande opines that it would make sense for Oklahoma City to lock up Harden, look to win a title with the current group, and trade him down the road.
  • Kentucky coach John Calipari told 106.7 the Fan in Washington D.C. that he has no plans to ever return to the NBA, writes Chris Fedor of Sports Radio Interviews.  Calipari's last stint in the league came with the Nets where his top achievement was taking the team to the playoffs in the 1997/98 season.
  • If Derek Fisher and Raja Bell land in NBA rotations, they are likely to be victims of the new flopping rules, tweets John Hollinger of  Fisher is currently a free agent while Bell continues to work on reaching a buyout agreement with the Jazz.

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