Bucks make Villanueva free agent
MILWAUKEE -- The Milwaukee Bucks have made qualifying offers to restricted free agent guard Ramon Sessions and forward Ersan Ilyasova, but will not make an offer to forward Charlie Villanueva -- allowing one of their top scorers from last season to become an unrestricted free agent.
Meanwhile, the team also is dealing with a potentially embarrassing YouTube moment from first-round draft pick Brandon Jennings.
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Bucks general manager John Hammond said Monday that the team already had sent offers to Sessions and Ilyasova, giving Milwaukee the right to match any contract offers from other teams. But with Tuesday's deadline for teams to make offers to their restricted free agents looming, the team decided not to make an offer to Villanueva.
Posting on his Twitter account Monday evening, Villanueva noted that "my journey in Milwaukee has come to [an] end," thanking fans and Bucks owner Sen. Herb Kohl for "three great years."
With a mid-level exception at their disposal, the Cleveland Cavaliers are expected to have interest in signing Villanueva -- and the interest sounds mutual. Perhaps anticipating his free agency, Villanueva posted Sunday that "Cleveland fans are showing me mad love on twitter, appreciate the love."
Hammond said he did not want to elaborate on the reasons behind the free agent decisions. But he did address another issue facing the team this week: Jennings' involvement in a profanity-laced and provocative video clip that was posted on the Web site YouTube.
"We are aware of the story," Hammond said. "This is a team matter, and we've been in contact with Brandon regarding it."
The clip, which showed rapper Joe Budden having a speakerphone conversation with someone identified as Jennings, had been removed as of Monday afternoon.
But according to a partial transcript of the clip posted on sportingnews.com, Jennings said he was confident that Sessions would not return to the team, boasted that he would beat out Luke Ridnour for the Bucks' starting point guard job and made a profane comment about the New York Knicks for not drafting him.
"He did not know he was being taped and it's already been addressed to Brandon by the Milwaukee Bucks as well as Bill Duffy and BDA Sports," said Ilana Nunn, spokeswoman for Jennings' agency. "When you're not told your being taped, you don't know what's going on."
Jennings previously had mentioned his friendship with Budden on his Twitter account, which had been taken down as of Monday afternoon.
The incident could raise questions about the maturity of Jennings, who decided to play professionally in Italy instead of going to college.
And Jennings apparently was wrong about Sessions' future with the team.
After showing flashes of his potential toward the end of the 2007-08 season, Sessions played in 79 games last year -- including 39 starts -- and averaged 12.4 points and 5.7 assists per game. Ilyasova, the Bucks' second-round pick in 2005, played for Milwaukee in the 2007-08 season but has been playing professionally in Spain since then.
Villanueva, the seventh overall pick in the 2005 draft, played three seasons in Milwaukee after being traded by Toronto. He averaged a career-best 16.2 points last season, teaming with Richard Jefferson to make up for the scoring void left by significant injuries to guard Michael Redd and center Andrew Bogut.
Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press