Report: Ilgauskas to re-sign with the Cavaliers

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Ilgauskas.jpgUPDATE 6:42 PM: 


Looks like the gun may have been jumped just a bit. According to David Aldridge, Ilgauskas’ agent says that the report Ilgauskas has chosen the Cavs is “Absolutely not true!” 

ORIGINAL 6:23 PM: 
According to the twitter account of Brian Windhorst, Michael Reghi of WKNR 850 is reporting that recently traded center Zydrunas Ilgauskas will re-sign with the Cleveland Cavaliers. 

Ilgauskas was traded to the Wizards along with a first-round pick for Antawn Jamison at the trade deadline, but Ilgauskas was bought out before playing a single possession for the Wizards. 
Many assumed that Ilgauskas would re-sign with the Cavaliers despite reports interest in Ilgauskas from other teams. Ilgauskas was drafted by the Cavaliers in 1996, and has never played for another team. Ilgauskas was the starting center for ever Cavalier team in the “LeBron era” until this season, when he was replaced in the starting lineup by Shaquille O’Neal. Ilgauskas is a fan favorite in Cleveland, and his return will come as welcome news to Cavalier fans. Due to a rule that requires teams to wait at least 30 days before re-signing a traded player, the earlies Ilgauskas can return to the Cavalier lineup would be March 22nd. 
Not everybody is thrilled with Ilgauskas returning to his former team. There were rumors of a league investigation of the move if Ilgauskas returned. Those rumors now appear to be untrue, but several coaches have gone on-record against the move. Recently, Phil Jackson was vehement in his disapproval of Ilgauskas’ return, calling it a “sham” as well as a “disrespect for the league.” 
After dealing Ilgauskas, the Cavaliers were in somewhat of a tricky karma situation. On the one hand, effectively getting Jamison for a late first-round pick is a bit shady from a business perspective. On the other hand, letting go of one of the most beloved figures in the history of the franchise before a potential title run would have been awful from a sentimental perspective. 
The Cavs did what they felt was best for their players and their fanbase, but that certainly doesn’t mean everybody has to be happy about the loophole that allowed the Cavaliers to get Ilgauskas back so soon after trading him. 

Minnesota’s Gersson Rosas says Andrew Wiggins must be “main contributor” to T-wolves

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Last season in Minnesota — with Jimmy Butler torpedoing the team and ending the Tom Thibodeau era — was pretty much the figurative definition of a train wreck.

Out of that wreckage, the Timberwolves think they found some positives. Ryan Sunders was thrown into the fire as a young coach but bonded with Karl-Anthony Towns. Robert Covington sparked the defense before his injury. Josh Okogie emerged as a player. This summer the team drafted a player with a lot of potential in Jarrett Culver.

Minnesota also brought in the aggressive Gersson Rosas out of Houston to take over as team president and start reshaping the franchise into one that can live up to the promise of Towns’ potential. For that to start to happen, meaning a return to the playoffs, Rosas pointed to a couple of things needing to go right this season. First and foremost, they need more — and more consistency — out of Andrew Wiggins. Via Timberwolves writer/podcaster Dane Moore.

Most Timberwolves fans, and the rest of the league, have moved on from Wiggins, who has four years, $122 million left on his max contract. While he averaged 18.1 points per game last season, he doesn’t get those buckets efficiently nor consistently, and the result is an average/slightly below-average wing whose contract is an anchor on the franchise. We’ve learned no contract is untradable in the NBA, but this is as close to that line as it gets — the sweeteners Minnesota would have to throw in right now make a deal are prohibitive.

The only thing Minnesota can hope for is that in year six Wiggins takes some steps forward he did not take in the last five. Maybe continuity helps, but we’re all going to need to see it before we believe it.

The other thing Rosas said Minnesota needs: More consistent defense from Towns.

Saunders seemed to connect with Towns and got him to defend, and Covington played MIC linebacker calling out coverages and getting guys in position before his injury. Rosas said Covington would be good to go at the start of the season, if so that gives the Timberwolves real hope that the defense will improve.

Whether all of that will be enough to get them into the playoffs in a deep West is another question, but at least Minnesota seems to be moving in the right direction now.

President Donald Trump awarding Medal of Freedom to NBA star Bob Cousy

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WASHINGTON (AP) President Donald Trump is set to present basketball legend Bob Cousy (KOO’-zee) with the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

The award is being handed out Thursday. It celebrates individuals with a wide range of achievements and is the nation’s highest civilian honor.

The 91-year-old Naismith Memorial Hall of Fame member played for the Boston Celtics from 1950 to 1963. He won six league championships and the 1957 MVP title.

Cousy is also known for speaking out against racism. He was an ardent supporter of black teammates who faced discrimination during the civil rights movement.

Cousy will be the second person to receive the award this year from Trump. Golfer Tiger Woods received the honor in May.

Report: Shelly Sterling, members of Clippers organization heard Donald Sterling audio in advance and didn’t act

AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill
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In 2014, published audio of a racist rant by then-Clippers owner Donald Sterling rocked the country.

It shouldn’t have. Sterling’s racism and sexism were well-established by then. But few cared. The audio poured gasoline on the fire and moved people to act. I wish it didn’t require that. But it did.

What if the audio didn’t become public through TMZ? Apparently, there might have been opportunity for another outcome.

Ramona Shelburne of ESPN:

The fact is Shelly and several people in the Clippers organization heard the recording and decided not to act on it or weren’t appalled enough to act on it. Maybe they didn’t understand how big a splash this tape could make.

It’s unclear when Shelly Sterling (Donald’s wife) and other members of the Clippers organization heard the audio. Maybe it was while TMZ was doing due diligence. If so, it was probably too late to change the course of history.

But perhaps it was when V. Stiviano – Donald’s girlfriend who made the original recording and was being sued by Shelly – was still the only one in possession of it. Stiviano was clearly upset with how things were going financially between her and the Sterlings. For the right price, maybe the audio would have gone away before becoming public.

I’m glad it didn’t happen that way. The world is better off knowing exactly who Donald Sterling is.

Yet, this leads to an incredible “what if?” What if the people who heard the audio in advance understood the magnitude, acted in Sterling’s best interest and paid to have the audio kept secret? Would Sterling still own the Clippers today?

Kyle Kuzma scores on own basket in Team USA-Australia game (video)

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The Lakers are desperate at center. They might even need Kyle Kuzma to play the position. He’ll have to work on, among other things, rebounding.

At least it usually won’t go as poorly as this play in Team USA’s exhibition win over Australia.