Ilgauskas Ponders Retirement, Trade Rumors


Zydrunas Ilgauskas has been known for his soft temper and he seldom makes the news even though he has been a huge part of this team’s success. However, his expiring contract will put him in many trade rumors this season.

The reported yesterday that the Warriors have been in talks with teams including the Cavaliers to accommodate the desire of their star Stephen Jackson to leave.

“As Jackson has already said, he would love to go to Cleveland. And a starting perimeter of Mo Williams, Stephen Jackson and LeBron James sounds pretty formidable, especially with the likes of Parker, West and Bobbie Gibson coming off the bench.”

Brian Windhorst, the Cavaliers beat reporter said via Twitter that the Cavaliers won’t trade big for small unless for a certifiable star and Stephen Jackson doesn’t qualify.

Marc Stein also writes:

A theoretical Cavs-Warriors deal headlined by Jackson and Ilgauskas — who’s in the final year of his contract at $11.5 million — would only provide Golden State with payroll relief. That’s a big deal, but the Warriors would ideally like to bring back at least one player for the future (with a reasonable contract) if they’re going to part with someone as important as Jackson, whereas I get the feeling that Cleveland is likely only willing to part with the likes of Daniel Gibson or Delonte West in addition to Ilgauskas.

Also, Zydrunas Ilgauskas has been hinting that this could be his last season. The grind of the long seaons, road trips, and playing on consecutive nights all wear him down. Ilgauskas is 34, and is entering his 12th season – all with the Cleveland Cavaliers. This is also the final year of his contract.

In his first five seasons, Ilgauskafirst missed 268 of 378 possible games, suffering through five surgeries in five years. But since February of 2001, he has been healthy and a big part of the team.

“I’m not a spring chicken any more. So we’ll see how I feel after the season” he told FanHouse.

Cavaliers Mike Brown also wouldn’t be surprised if Ilgauskas hangs up his high tops after this season.

“He’s had an excellent career,” Brown said. “He’s obviously missing one thing in his career: a championship. I’m sure he would like be part of that. But he’s got a beautiful wife at home in Jennifer, and they adopted a couple of great kids.

“He still has a full life ahead of him off the floor. He is a guy that could, at any time, say, ‘This is my last year’ or ‘I might play one or two or three more years.’ He has a life in general in greatest perspective. I think, when the time comes, he’ll make a decision.”

Cavaliers win preseason opener against Bobcats

For the first time, Lebron James and Shaquille O’Neal shared the floor as teammates. For a little over 10 minutes, the two superstars spent the time to work off each other at the offensive end.

“For it to be a first game, me and Shaq definitely played pretty well together,” James said. “It shouldn’t be hard for the both of us, we know how to play basketball and we want to win.”

“If you take your body off Shaq, LeBron’s going to make the pass and it’s going to be a dunk or a foul,” Cavs coach Mike Brown said. “Shaq knows how to play and how to pass and Andy knows how to pass and they both move well off the ball, I think we’ll see that often.”

Mo Williams returned from injury and scored six points with four rebounds.

Forward J.J. Hickson was impressive as he spent the summer working out with Lebron James. He scored 15 points with five rebounds off the bench.

Delonte West was missing. He did warm up and the Cavs planned to play him. However, it was determined he wasn’t quite ready yet. West is going to be away for the next few games to handle personal business.

Lebron, Shaq first debut in Akron, Delonte West held out of scrimmage

The Cleveland Cavaliers held out their annual scrimmage at the University of Akron’s Rhodes Arena in from of 5,000 fans who lined up hours before the game to witness the debut of Lebron and Shaquille.

Shaquille O’Neal received a standing ovation from the fans as he stepped on the court.

O’Neal was 6 of 7 from the field, dropping at least four short jumpers and one layup.

General manager Danny Ferry decided to have West remain on his own during the team’s Wine and Gold scrimmage.

Ferry said he didn’t want to rush West back after missing the first four practices.

“I think that was probably the right step for him today,” Ferry said. “The next step is the next practice. Overall, I think he is going in a good direction.”

Ferry was asked why West did not report.

“I don’t know that it was the right time for him to come,” said Ferry

However, Ferry made it clear that West must be responsible and understand his obligations to the team:

“There has to be a level of accountability as we’re trying to build a championship culture and continue to grow as an organization,” Ferry said. “There’s going to be ups and downs for that for sure, but at the end our purpose will remain the same.”

Scene from ‘More Than a Game’

“Seven years ago a film-school student named Kristopher Belman had the foresight to start documenting a sports phenomenon in his home town of Akron, Ohio—a spectacularly successful high-school basketball team led by a youngster named LeBron James. He filmed the team in action, and pulled together an assortment of home videos and photographs dating back to the players’ junior-high-school days, when they played as close friends at a gym in a poor Akron neighborhood. The resulting documentary feature, “More Than a Game,” is fascinating not only for its portrait of an emergent—and endearing—superstar, but for the evolution of three teammates”  You can read the full article here.

Delonte West returns to practice

After missing the first four practices, Delonte West has finally returned to the Cleveland Cavaliers after missing the first two days of training camp.

West called the absences unexcused but said he’s been in contact with general manager Danny Ferry. It remains to be seen if he will be fined by the team.

More info to come.

Lebron’s friend could be key to help Knicks land Lebron

No one seems to be more in pursuit of Lebron James than the New York media, New York Daily news in particular. It even seems like they are after Lebron more than the whole  Knicks organization.

In a recent article in the New York Daily news, the Knicks are using Lebron’s friend to help persuade him to come to New York. William Wesley, who is a friend of Lebron’s agent, Leon Rose, and other NBA high profile athletes, is getting red carpet treatment by Knicks president Donnie Walsh.

According to the article:

“World Wide Wes,” as he is affectionately known, is also quietly emerging as an important player in the Knicks’ pursuit of LeBron James. Wesley is known to be a friend and confidant of LeBron, who can become a free agent on July 1. With that in mind, it probably doesn’t hurt that Wesley and Knicks president Donnie Walsh have become Best Friends Forever.

Wesley was asked by Walsh to personally oversee Eddy Curry’s offseason workout. He attended the Knicks training camp for the second straight year and the Knicks didn’t let him out of their sight.

“If Wesley cracks a joke, everyone seated within five feet of him, as if on cue, begins to laugh. Wesley may be funny. But he’s not that funny.”

Wesley cautioned reporters not to read too much into his presence at Knicks camp. “I’m here for Eddy and for Allan,” Wesley said. “This has got nothing to do with LeBron.”

Delonte misses practice for second day, faces fines

Delonte West might have missed the memo that practice starts on Tuesday. Mike Brown said Delonte’s absence is unexcused and might face a fine by the team.

According to general manager Danny Ferry who spoke to West at length yesterday, he said West is dealing with personal issues, however he declined to speak with reporters today.

Even Lebron James tried calling him but no answer: “We’ve tried…We don’t know if he has his phone. You don’t look into it. Either he answers or he doesn’t” Lebron said today.

“I’m sure he’ll be OK, we’re going to give him as much time as he needs,” James said. “Basketball has nothing to do with what is going on. When he comes back we’ll welcome him. When he gets back it is going to be just like when he was here.”

West, who has battled depression and mood disorders for years, also could face suspension by the league after he was recently arrested for gun possession in Maryland.

West also missed 10 days last year during training camp to seek help for his mental illness.

“We’re all concerned about Delonte’s well-being. We love him and we’re all in the same family,” Brown said. “But in the same breath, we’re all paid to do a job and that’s what we’re doing. I’ve got 18 guys here I have to coach every day and that’s what I’m doing.”

“I’d be worried about someone who doesn’t have a supporting cast around him and not trying to help him. I’m really not concerned about him,” said guard Mo Williams.

“If he comes to practice tonight, it’ll be like he never left.”