Update 11:50 pm: The Mavericks are not alone, it turns out. The Atlanta Hawks would like to talk to Ilgauskas, too, if (when, really) Washington buys him out. His agent, Herb Rudoy, said the Hawks are a team Big Z would consider. He’ll probably end up back with the Cavs, but he can milk them for more of the exception money they left.
11:37 am: The deal for the Cavs was pretty simple. “Here, Washington, we’ll give you this guy’s big expiring contract and our draft pick in return for your best player who is not suspended for the rest of the season for doing something unimaginably stupid. Then you can buy out that player, and save yourself some money! Then we’ll re-sign him, and everyone’s happy!”
But if ESPN Dallas is correct, the Cavaliers may have to fend off some other title contenders if they want to get Zydrunas Ilgauskas back in the fold.
With center Erick
Dampier out for an extended period, a source said the Dallas Mavericks
plan to pursue Zydrunas
Ilgauskas if he receives a buyout from the Washington
Losing Z would be a monster hit for the Cavs, who will need a true backup center against the Eastern Conference elite’s big men, including Dwight Howard. But the Mavericks would only be able to offer Ilgauskas a prorated portion of the veteran’s minimum, which Cleveland would of course be able to match. With Ilgauskas’ long history in Cleveland, his family and home there, it’s hard to imagine Ilgauskas not returning to the Cavs.
But the question has to be asked how much Z would want to go back “home,” after Coach Mike Brown denied Ilgauskas the opportunity to break the record for most games played by a Cav in front of friends and family he’d invited. This is on top of the fact that he’s been squeezed to the fringes of the rotation with the addition of Shaquille O’Neal. Ilgauskas’ return may be a foregone conclusion, but it’s still a development that warrants watching.
The NBA has unveiled its top 100 plays of the 2015-16 season, and there’s no mystery as to what were the top two.
No. 2: Stephen Curry‘s halfcourt buzzer-beater in overtime against the Thunder in Oklahoma City during the season.
No. 1: “The Block” by LeBron James on Andre Iguodala in the final stretch of Game 7 of the Finals.
There’s plenty more, too, and if you have 25 minutes to kill, you can and should watch all of them above.
Tyler Zeller is one of the few restricted free agents left on the market who could make an actual impact next season, and on Saturday morning, he’s come off the board. Steve Bulpett of the Boston Herald reports that the fourth-year big man has agreed to a deal to stay with the Celtics. It’s for two years and $16 million, with the second season being a team option.
Zeller isn’t a starter, but he’s a nice rotation big man, especially at that price. He can play minutes off the bench for Boston, and his contract is also very movable with the second season being unguaranteed. He played just 11.8 minutes per game last season, but averaged 18.5 points and 9 rebounds per 36 minutes.
The Toronto Raptors were good last season, second best team in the East. That means the guys on Inside the NBA on TNT had to talk about them.
Which means Charles Barkley had to say “Jonas Valanciunas” a lot. Which is high comedy. While a lot of people struggle to say his name the guy is a solid NBA center who, with a little practice, you can say (and spell) his name pretty easily.
This comes from a YouTube user, via Reddit, with a hat tip to Eye on Basketball.
Argentina isn’t considered a medal contender heading into the Rio Olympics. Their golden generation — led by Manu Ginobili — has picked up a lot of speed on the downhill side of their careers at this point.
They didn’t provide much of a challenge for Team USA in an exhibition game Friday night in Las Vegas, one won by the USA 111-74. Kevin Durant impressed playing with his new teammates in dropping 23 points, Paul George had 18, and the Americans had their way in the game.
Which is what we’re going to see a lot of in Rio — the USA’s talent level is just steps above any other team in the tournament.