BUCKS BEAT: Jackson, Skiles are all business

2012-02-16T21:35:00Z 2012-04-13T12:24:51Z BUCKS BEAT: Jackson, Skiles are all businessGERY WOELFEL Journal Times
February 16, 2012 9:35 pm  • 

Some quick hits on the Milwaukee Bucks:

After Stephen Jackson was benched for the second half of a game against Denver Jan. 17, I asked the Bucks veteran swingman whether he had any inkling Bucks coach Scott Skiles was going to do that.

Jackson said he didn't get any advance warning and he didn't get any explanation after the game, either.

It was abundantly clear even then that Jackson, whom the Bucks acquired from Charlotte last June and was expected to be a key piece to the Bucks' puzzle this season, wasn't on the same page with Skiles.

Now, a month later, Jackson's relationship with Skiles seemingly has disintegrated. In an interview with Rod Burks of Channel 4 (NBC) in Milwaukee, Jackson said: "We don't have no relationship like I've had with other coaches and I don't expect to have one. Too much stuff has happened."

Considering the strained relationship and Jackson's limited playing time and productivity, it's a given the Bucks will try to unload Jackson before the March 15 trading deadline.

That won't be easy, though. Jackson is being paid $9.2 million this season and is guaranteed $10 million next season. That's a lot of money for a 33-year-old reserve player.

Yet, there are some NBA officials who believe Jackson could be traded if he was part of a package, perhaps with talented young forward Irsan Ilyasova or perhaps with talented young point guard Brandon Jennings.

Ilyasova, 24, has emerged as arguably the Bucks' best player. Ilyasova has had three games of 17 points or more in the last nine days, including 23 against New Orleans Wednesday night.

Furthermore, Ilyasova has grabbed at least 12 rebounds - including 16 against Orlando Saturday night - in four of the last eight games.

Ilyasova has put up those gaudy numbers even though he is coming off the bench.

As for the 22-year-old Jennings, he is the Bucks' leading scorer at 18.4 points a game and was considered a legitimate All-Star candidate.

With center Andrew Bogut likely out for the season with a fracture in his left ankle, Jennings has been asked to shoulder the Bucks' scoring load.

He's done a commendable job of that, too, having totaled 24 points against Cleveland last Friday and 18 against the Hornets.

But Jennings is battling a horrendous shooting slump. In the last six games, he has had made only 27 of 82 field goal attempts - a meager 33 percent.

His 3-point shooting is even worse: He's just 8 of 35 - just 23 percent.

Jennings' shooting woes, compounded by the Bucks' struggles, have obviously taken a toll on him.

After the Bucks lost to the lowly Hornets, Jennings said, "I need to come out with a lot more energy and I need to play harder. I can't say I've been playing hard the last couple of games because I really haven't.

"I need to look in the mirror and ask myself if this is something I'm up for"

Gooden hurting

After the Bucks-Hornets game Wednesday night, Skiles said Drew Gooden had a sprained wrist and that was a reason for his lack of playing time in the second half.

I have since learned Gooden has been having issues with his right wrist for much of the season.

More concerning, the injury hasn't gotten better. As such, Gooden was expected to see a hand specialist Thursday.

Fesenko update

The Bucks are trying to set up a meeting with unrestricted free agent center Kyrylo Fesenko next week, possibly in Denver, where he has been living.

Fesenko, who played the last four seasons as backup for the Utah Jazz, tore the meniscus in his left knee while playing for the Ukraine in the Eurobasket Tournament in September.

"He's fine now; he's ready to go," said Stu Lash, Fesenko's agent.

Besides the Bucks, Chicago, Miami and Atlanta are among some of the other teams showing interest in Fesenko.

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