Via the twitter account of Chris Thomasson:
Having talked to Zydrunas Ilgauskas for a while during conference finals and reading between lines, wouldn’t be surprised if he will retire.
The 36-year old Ilgauskas was the starting center and a key part of the 66-win 2008-09 Cleveland Cavaliers, but his numbers fell off a cliff when his starting spot was given to Shaquille O’Neal the following season. He signed with the Heat last off-season, started a lot of games for them, and did some good things offensively, but his lack of speed made him a liability in Erik Spoelstra’s ultra-aggressive defensive system and left him out of the rotation after the first round of the playoffs.
If Ilgauskas does retire after this season, he’ll be remembered as one of the most beloved athletes in Cleveland history, one of the NBA’s true good guys, and an inspirational story because of the way he came back and had a long, productive career after some Oden-like injury struggles (with his feet, not his knees) early in it. If he does come back, his combination of size, rebounding, passing, and outside shooting could allow him to help some team in spot minutes, although it seems unlikely he’ll be a part of Miami’s future plans.
Everything LeBron James does and says gets magnified and scrutinized.
So when he put out this photo on Instagram standing shoulder-to-shoulder with Tristan Thompson and the caption “get it done” it seemed a message to the Cavaliers.
LeBron clarified that on Sunday, saying this has become a distraction, and the message was for both sides to bend, as reported by Dave McMenamin of ESPN and Chris Haynes of the Plain Dealer.
When Thompson didn’t sign the qualifying offer he surrendered a lot of leverage, the Cavaliers don’t have to raise their five-year, $80 million offer — but reportedly they still would, a little. Thompson and his agent Rich Paul have pushed for a max contract, but that’s not happening.
At some point, the two sides will come to an agreement. For the Cavaliers, this is a distraction, their star is unhappy with that, and ultimately if they are going to make a title run they need the energy and rebounding Thompson brings (even if it is just off the bench). For Thompson, he can’t make up a year of lost salary, he has to come in and start getting paid at some point.
The two sides will get it done. Eventually. Likely before the season tips off.
China has secured the ninth and final Olympic men’s basketball berth awarded this year.
China earned the bid to the 2016 Rio Games with a 78-67 win over the Philippines. 2016 first-round draft prospect Qi Zhou had 16 points and 14 rebounds, setting up the Olympics to be his big introduction to American fans.
Former NBA player Yi Jianlian won tournament MVP by averaging 16.7 points, 8.8 rebounds, 1.4 assists and 1.2 blocks per game.
This will be China’s ninth straight Olympic appearance.
The Philippines, who got 17 points from Andray Blatche in the final, will still go to an Olympic Qualifying Tournament next summer with a chance to reach Rio.