The Cavs host the Kings at 3PM EST, in a routine regular season game devoid of much drama. Tyreke Evans will miss the game with lingering concussion problems. The Cavs have locked up their division and are within reach of locking up the division, so they have little to play for. The Kings are playing out the string. So this should be your regular, unspectacular game at the Q.
Except it won’t be at ‘The Q’.
It’ll be at ‘The Z’.
The Cavs are calling the Q (Quicken Loans Arena) ‘The Z’ in honor of today’s return home of Zydrunas Ilgauskas. Ilgauskas was traded to the Wizards in February as part of the deal for Antawn Jamison, then bought out by the Wizards. He had several suitors among the league’s championship contenders, but opted to return ‘home’ to Cleveland in order to finish what he started and win a title.
Brian Windhorst of the Plain Dealer reports on Twitter that the Cavs are going all out today, handing out t-shirts that say “Cavz,” ‘Z’ signs, and more. Cavs blog Fear the Sword reports they’ll be showing Ilgauskas highlights all day, all the way back to his rookie season in Cleveland.
It’s good that the Cavs are taking this opportunity to thank Z. Ilguaskas had brought in friends and family earlier this season to celebrate his record setting appearance as a Cavalier, only to have Mike Brown elect not to play him. Then the Cavs traded him in order to upgrade their team. It was a move that was necessary given the opportunity to win a championship and secure LeBron James long-term with the franchise, but it didn’t make anyone feel any better about it.
Ilgauskas elected to return after all that, and he’s been a huge part of the Cavs’ success, even if James was the catalyst. It’s a business, and all players, coaches, and executives know that. But you’ve still got to show appreciation for those who are loyal to you. And hey, maybe it’ll show James something about that, in preparation for his big decision.