Update Sept. 26, 9:30 pm: The San Antonio Spurs’ pursuit of Kyrylo Fesenko didn’t really advance past a workout. And now the possibility of adding Fesenko has been essentially closed shut.
The Chicago Bulls have invited veteran center Kyrylo Fesenko to training camp on a non-guaranteed contract, according to sources close to the situation.
Sources told ESPN.com that Fesenko is on course to sign with the Bulls by week’s end after working out for team officials this week.
According to Stein, Fesenko is also willing to re-sign in November to alleviate the tax penalties for the Bulls. Doing so would also allow the Bulls to offer Fesenko a pro-rated veteran minimum deal.
Sept. 24, 7:15 am: The Bulls are in the midst of an overhaul and the departure of Omer Asik will be damaging to their interior defense. Chicago allowed 42.5% shooting and 89.7 points per 100 possessions with Asik on the floor last season according to NBA.com/Stats.
They reportedly worked out Fesenko to potentially fill Asik’s role (via Fesenko’s Twitter feed).
In unrelated news: Fesenko still thinks Ronnie Brewer, who signed a one-year deal with the New York Knicks, and Kyle Korver, who was traded to the Atlanta Hawks, are on the Bulls. He later corrected his mistake on Twitter.
Sept. 12, 7:34 pm: The Spurs will workout 7-foot-1 center Fesenko next week according to Sam Amick of Sports Illustrated.
“On the big man front, a source says 7-foot-1, 280-pound Ukrainian center Kyrylo Fesenko is scheduled to work out for San Antonio next week. The Spurs aren’t the only team wanting a look at the 25-year-old, though, as Fesenko — who spent most of last season on Indiana’s bench after playing his first four seasons in Utah — may work out in Cleveland soon thereafter. There have also been discussions with Miami and Atlanta.”
Fesenko has legitimate size which remains a valuable commodity. He is a sieve offensively but he can impact the interior defensively. While it is a limited sample size, Fesenko allowed his opponents to score 0.71 points per possession during the 2010-11 season, a mark that would have ranked in the top 10 in the league.
Ignoring last season where he appeared in three games with the Indiana Pacers, there is an undeniable trend; Fesenko’s presence is indeed beneficial on the defensive end. The Utah Jazz allowed 98.8 points per 100 possessions while he was on the floor compared to 108.4 points per 100 possessions otherwise.
82games.com also denotes his defensive strength; Fesenko’s elite size stunted opposing centers as they mustered up a mere 46.7 eFG% (which accounts for the extra value in 3-pointers.) For reference, league average centers typically hover around the 51.4 eFG% mark. Fesenko would be even more effective if he was not ridiculously foul prone. He’s averaged 7.3 personal fouls per 36 minutes for his career.
For this reason alone, Fesenko wouldn’t be a bad addition for the Spurs. He won’t play much anyway and the potential defensive boost they receive while he is on the floor would be a nice breath of fresh air for fans that have witnessed DeJuan Blair play defense.
Fesenko has appeared in 135 games through five seasons, averaging 2.3 points, two rebounds and 49.6% shooting.