A couple weeks ago, before the lockout kicked in, Zydrunas Ilgauskas picked up his $1.4 million option with the Miami Heat for next season.
That doesn’t mean he’s going to play with the Heat. The floor-stretching center hasn’t decided yet, he told the South Florida Sun Sentinel.
“If I play, it will be in Miami,” Big Z told me Tuesday night at Sun Life Stadium, before throwing out the ceremonial first pitch at the Phillies-Marlins game. “Right now I’m just kind of on the fence.”
Exercising his contact option for $1.4 million was a way of buying time, Ilgauskas said as he watched batting practice with his two young sons, Deividas and Povilas.
“I just want to keep my options open,” he said. “Nobody knows what’s going to happen with the season. I figure we’ll take it one day at a time, see how my back is.”
It’s not really a matter of the money with the Heat, it’s the roster spot. Ilgauskas — unless he’s back fully healthy and playing like the guy from 2008, which is unlikely at age 36 — is not going to help the Heat much. That roster spot could go to someone more useful to a Heat squad that was close but (among other things) needs a little more depth.
But, with the lockout lasting a couple more months at least, Big Z is in no rush to decide. Nor should he be.
Philadelphia 76ers big man Joel Embiid has a certain sense of humor, one that has embraced former Sixers GM Sam Hinkie’s motto of “Trust the Process” as a kind of personal mantra and brand.
Embiid has apparently taken it a step further, showing off custom sneakers on Snapchat of his “Trust the Process” shoes.
You read that right.
The inside tongue of a pair of kicks Embiid was rocking on Saturday read in all lowercase letters the phrase we now associate with the Cameroonian center.
Embiid famously dubbed himself “The Process” and even filed for a trademark on the language in order to sell merchandise no doubt to be with us shortly.
Keep it coming, Joel. Absolutely each and every one of these are great.
Cleveland Cavaliers superstar LeBron James is one of the best basketball players ever, and on Friday night he passed Elvin Hayes for 9th on the NBA’s all-time scoring list.
Now, LeBron has accomplished a feat that is all his own.
During a game against the Charlotte Hornets on Saturday, James became the first player to log 27,000 points, 7,000 rebounds, and 7,000 assists.
Being alone in those categories is incredibly special, and is a marker to how James has played his entire career as a revolutionary point forward.
James is not only 9th in scoring, but 16th in assists. Statistical averages suggest he will end the season somewhere around 12th all-time in passing.
Timofey Mozgov is not an MVP candidate, but that didn’t stop one fan from starting a chant while the Los Angeles Lakers C was at the free-throw line on Friday night against the Phoenix Suns.
May I just say this: Bless this fan.
As Mozgov went to the line midway through the first quarter, someone within earshot of ESPN’s parabolic microphones started a chant for the Russian big man.
It was quiet during Mozgov’s first free throw, but during the second more fans at Staples joined in to the point where it was impossible to ignore it.
This is what having a fun at a basketball game looks like. Too good.
Cleveland Cavaliers veteran Richard Jefferson has a legendary Snapchat account, and I think it just got even better.
During a video posted to Jefferson’s account on Saturday, viewers were able to see a point-of-view account of what it’s like to be an NBA player practicing 3-pointers and dunking down lob passes.
Thanks to a pair of Snapchat Spectacles — a video camera in a set of glasses and paired with the social application — Jefferson gave us a taste of what it’s like to be an NBA player, if only for a moment.
I think it’s pretty cool to see from his perspective. Thanks to the evolution of wearable technology and 3D viewing equipment this is probably just a very small preview of what our viewing experience for the NBA is going to be like in 10-15 years.