UPDATE 3:18 pm: And it’s official, Ilgauskas is back in Cleveland as a Cavalier.
“If I would’ve left and the team won a championship without me,” he
said, “I don’t think I could’ve ever forgave myself.”
He’s right. After all he’s meant to that franchise, he needs to be around for a title. Now comes that pesky little problem of winning one.
10:01 am: It’s official, Zydrunas Ilgauskas will sign with the Cleveland Cavaliers this morning, returning to the only team that he has ever played for.
In other shocking news, the economy stinks, health care bills are divisive, Toyota has some image problems and Ellen DeGeneres is a terrible fit on American Idol.
Brian Windhorst broke the story on his all-seeing twitter account. But this was expected from the moment Ilgauskas was included in a trade that brought Antawn Jamison to the Cavaliers. The buyout and return was never an official part of the deal, but everyone knew it was happening. A change in rules may come this summer — or as part of the new CBA — to stop this little trade/buyout/return move from happnin.
For now, the Cavs need Big Z back, as they have been losing big men like the team was based in Portland. With Shaquille O’Neal out after thumb surgery, Ilgauskas should get a lot of minutes early. Once he learns all those new plays.
John Wall is one of the hardest players to guard in the NBA. J.R. Smith found that out the hard way on Tuesday night when Wall sent him flying with a behind-the-back dribble before making an easy layup.
The Wizards beat the Cavs, who are now 13-5 on the season.
Kobe Bryant‘s pregame tribute video stole the show in Philadelphia, but Tuesday night was Moses Malone tribute night. The former league MVP and Hall of Famer passed away in September, and his legacy was honored by the Sixers during a halftime ceremony. During the festivities, Malone’s son announced that his No. 2 will be retired by the organization next season.
There’s no question that Malone, one of the greatest players in the history of the sport, deserves to have his number retired. The only relevant question is: why didn’t this happen years ago? The ceremony next season should be good, but it would have been better if they had done it when Malone was alive to participate in it. No Sixers player has worn No. 2 since Malone anyway, but it’s been over 20 years since he last wore a Sixers jersey. Why couldn’t they have found some time in those two decades to have a ceremony and hang a banner?
Perhaps LeBron James‘ most underappreciated skill has been his passing. He is rightly hailed as the most unselfish superstar of his generation, but being a willing passer is only part of it: he’s also as good at it as any point guard in the league. Case in point: this two-handed halfcourt bounce pass on Tuesday night, finding Richard Jefferson for an easy dunk:
Kobe Bryant‘s relationship with his hometown of Philadelphia had its rocky sections — the Kobe’s Lakers beat the Sixers in the 2001 Finals, and then Kobe was booed during the 2002 All-Star Game — but all was forgiven on Tuesday night.
In his final trip to Philly, he was given a framed Lower Merion High School jersey — that’s Kobe’s school, in case you forgot — and it was presented by Dr. J.
Then the fans welcomed him like you see above.
That pumped up Kobe, who scored 13 first quarter points on 5-of-10 shooting, his best quarter of the season.