Everyone knew it was coming. Talk to any team owner, general manager, or head coach and they could have told you it would happen so they did not even ascertain any notion of talks. Except for Denver and George Karl, everyone knew and had given up. What they knew was that recently bought out center, Zydrunas Ilgauskas, had absolutely no interest in joining any team but the Cleveland Cavaliers after the NBA required thirty day wait period ended.
Big Z signed with the Cavaliers Tuesday fulfilling his and the team’s wishes. The Cavs may have “hurt” Big Z’s feeling by using him as a pawn in the deal with the Washington Wizards to acquire Antawn Jamison but those feelings seem to be completely mended, especially now that he is back with the team. Big Z and the Cavs are once again a big happy family, well except for Darnell Jackson who was waived to make roster space for Ilgauskas’ triumphant return. At long last we can all breathe a sigh of relief and remove ourselves from the edge of our collective chairs from the drama of where Ilgauskas may go. Phew! That was tense.
Now Ilgauskas will more than likely move into the starting rotaion, though Head Coach Mike Brown has yet to decide, replacing Anderson Varejao at center. Good for him. He will likely see his first game action on Wednesday when the Cavaliers visit the Hornets. Once Shaquille O’Neal returns from his thumb injury, Ilgauskas will undoubtedly return to a permanent bench role which he was moved to once the Cavaliers acquired the Big Witness Protection.
This closes another chapter in the NBA’s odd trade rule. The Cavaliers lost absolutely nothing, nada, zip. They acquired Antawn Jamison who is a proven scorer and rebounder in the league. During the 2006-07 playoffs, Jamison averaged 32 points and 9.8 rebounds per game for the Washington Wizards when they were swept by the Cleveland Cavaliers. This is what the Cavaliers got and they lost nothing. Should the NBA consider altering the rule that has allowed the Cavaliers, and others, to make such carefree swaps? Probably. Will Emperor Stern address this rule? He will likely have to as this is just another case of a trade that caused ire throughout the league. Until that happens, the Cavaliers and Ilgauskas will just have to suffer through the agony of knowing they exploited a well known and used (abused) NBA rule. How will they ever cope?