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.