Posts tagged: Player Movement

Open Letter from CavsHistory.com on the Impact of LeBron’s Decision

Hi Cavs Fans,
I don’t know if we have been properly introduced. My name is Doug Cassidy, I’m a Clevelander (Berea) who now resides in Los Angeles (ironically a decision that I made for a job). I’ve been running CavsHistory.com for just over 10 years. Its mostly a one many shop, but my good friend Matt (@matty_munch) writes here under the pseudonym Crunch every once in a while.

As many of you know, this site is not an editorial site nor an opinion site. At least twice a week I get a request from someone asking if they can “write” for this site. Intentionally I have avoided this because I always intended this site to be a resource for Cavs fans to go to to look up any info that has to do with the Cavs. All objective, no subjective (I will address how I strayed from that a bit later on – and corrected it today).

So, this post is out of character for me, but I wanted to let you all know how I feel about LeBron’s decision and how it will effect this site. Bare with me.

LeBron James is a phenomenal talent from our home state of Ohio who we were undoubtably lucky as

LeBron on Draft Day

Cavs fans to have on “our” team for seven years. One of my best sports memories will be the 2003 draft night. Its the closest I’ve ever known what winning a championship feels like.

 

The site was barely visited in its first three years. And I have to admit after we drafted LeBron his popularity did motivate me to grow and mature the site. Partially because its more fun to work on it while we were winning and partially because his popularity made CavsHistory more popular, which meant I got A LOT more feedback and requests. As you can see, the complete history of the Cavs is continuing to be documented here (with some glaring deficiencies – Box Scores, etc…).

The one part of CavsHistory that I have always been a bit uncomfortable with was “The LeBron Phenomenon” page under Miscellaneous.  It was indeed fun to document all of the things whirling around his success and celebrity, but it just didn’t seem to fit on a site dedicated to a team, not a person.  I have thought about removing that content several times.  And today, I ultimately did. Its gone.  Not out of spite, but because it really doesn’t make sense now that he is not a Cav.

Besides that, how will LeBron leaving impact this site?  Well a few notes:

  1. He will stay in the banner. He is arguably the most important Cavalier in their 40 year history.  He belongs up there with the legends (Shaq might go.. but that is another story)
  2. I have returned his player profile picture back to his rookie photo.  It has always been my policy that I use the original photo of a player when he started with a team (or at least the earliest I can get my hands on). My apologies to Z, but your goofy rookie photo stays. I put up a more recent photo of him this past year.  Why? because I thought it was a cool picture. Now, I just can’t see giving him special treatment.
  3. The rest stays the same. I have the full intention of dedicating a lot of time to maturing this site for your enjoyment and reference.

Now to the opinion part.  I am dreading this.

I actually felt embarrassed for LeBron and the way that he decided to present himself and his decision. I thought it was inappropriate and not handled well. I am extremely disappointed that he is leaving and I personally do not think it is the right choice for him or his legacy, but as a Cleveland fan I have learned that this will happen and I cannot take that choice personally.  But, the way that he conducted himself I have trouble not taking offense to.  The fanfare may have proved that yes, he is undoubtably the biggest star on the NBA landscape, and possibly in all of American sports but I do not think that means you should casually behave as such.  I can’t imagine what it must be like to have his talents or stature.  The pressure must be crushing.  But I am also reminded of the gifts he has been given as well. I believe that his conduct leading up to the decision was surprisingly disconnected with reality and worst of all extremely narcissistic.

 

Why do this with such lack of tact?

Cavs fans.  We now have to do something that we have avoided doing for a long, long time.  Take our blinders off. LeBron’s behavior throughout his NBA career has been consistently less than humble.  ”I played great” “My talents” “I carried our team”.  These are things that a self aware person, a humble person should ultimately leave for others to say. His demeanor has always made me uncomfortable. But, I forgave him because of his very odd life experiences.  I doubt I would be very grounded if I had been told I was the best basketball player on earth since I was 15.  It must be confusing. Also, he was our star.

But make no mistake. Forgiveness or not, he is not MY player any more.  I am not HIS fan.  I will hold him up to the same scrutiny as I do anyone else. No more, no less.

It will be hard for me to part with a lot of the things that adorn my office.  LeBron’s Nike shoes, McFarlane statuettes, cool posters.  But I will.  I am a Cavs fan.  And unfortunately this means I now actively root against LeBron James.

Stay strong an cheer with pride. We root for the name on the front of the jersey, not the name on the back.

Go Cavs,
Doug (dcass) – @CavsHistory

p.s. I want to thank some really cool people in the Cavs network for just being cool

  • Glen Infante – (@GlenInfante) insanely talented  artist. Has his hands in RealCavsFans, LeBron2010, and ILTHY.  He may have done more than any other single individual to actively get LeBron to see how much we wanted him to say.
  • Ben – (@realcavsfans) over at RealCavsFans – best Cavs Talk site on the web.
  • Brian Spaeth – (@brianspaeth) actor, writer, promoter?, Cavs Fan and (my opinion) slightly insane
  • Scott – (@WFNYScott) great, great, GREAT writer for Waiting for Next Year. Keep it up.
  • Brian Windhost – (@PDcavsinsider) Cavs beat writer for the ABJ and now the Plain Dealer. At least we still have the best in the biz in this respect.
  • Amanda Petrak – (@apetrakcavs)A childhood friend who is now PR Director for the Cavs.  She never let her success or the success of the team change her.
  • and most of all: Dan Gilbert – Cavs majority owner and a personal idol of mine in business (read his “isms” sometime – he “gets it”) – he has done so much for LeBron, this organization and Cleveland.  His leadership has helped me realize that the owners win championships, not the players.  He’s got the goods guys.  Just you wait.

Cavaliers Exercise Team Option on Leon Powe

he Cleveland Cavaliers have exercised the team option on forward Leon Powe, Cavaliers General Manager Danny Ferry announced today from Cleveland Clinic Courts. Per league and team policy, terms of the contract were not announced. 

In returning from a knee-injury that kept him out of action for the first half of the 2009-10 season, Powe returned to the court and played in 20 games

Powe

Powe

(two starts), averaging 4.0 points on .429 shooting and 3.1 rebounds in 11.8 minutes per game. In 209 career games (16 starts), Powe has averaged 6.3 points on .517 shooting and 4.1 rebounds in 14.4 minutes per game.

“Leon has worked hard to rehab and get himself back on the court this past season. Now he has a full summer to continue working, play more basketball and come back to start next season better than ever,” said Cavaliers General Manager Danny Ferry. 

The 6-foot-8 forward was selected by the Denver Nuggets with the 49th overall draft pick in the 2006 NBA Draft and traded for by Boston on draft night. He signed with the Cavaliers as a free agent on August 11, 2009. In 2005-06, Powe led the PAC-10 in scoring (20.5 points per game) and rebounding (10.1 rebounds per game) at California, becoming only the sixth player in conference history to accomplish the feat while earning All-PAC-10 honors.

 

Z is Home. Anybody Wanna Buy Some DVDs? I Do, Z. I Do.

via Ohio.com and my homie George Thomas

“The Cleveland Cavaliers completed a deal with center Zydrunas Ilgauskas to bring him back to the team for the remainder of the season.

The deal is just for the rest of the year and uses a pro-rated portion of the bi-annual exception. Ilgauskas will be able to test the free agent market next season.

‘’He came back to win a championship,’’ agent Herb Rudoy said.”

There are many ways to celebrate!

Go to your barber! Try and sell some DVDs

Buy a cool T-Shirt!

 

Goose-Z

Goose-Z

 

 

Z is Coming Home (via PD)

link via By Mary Schmitt Boyer, The Plain Dealer

Zydrunas Ilgauskas has announced his intentions to rejoin the Cavaliers and has asked agent Herb Rudoy to begin negotiations with the Cavs on March 22, the first date he can do so.

“It is Zydrunas’ desire to return to the Cavaliers if a suitable contract can be agreed upon,” Rudoy said in an e-mail sent to reporters. “He has been overwhelmed and deeply touched by the outpouring of support and affection by the fans and by his teammates. He hopes to return to bring a championship to the Cavaliers and to the city of Cleveland.”

Ilgauskas was traded to Washington in the deal that brought Antawn Jamison and Sebastian Telfair to the Cavs. After the Wizards bought out his contact, he cleared waivers and became a free agent Monday.

The Dallas Mavericks, Denver Nuggets and Atlanta Hawks were among the teams seeking to sign him, along with the Cavs, who have been without a true center since Shaquille O’Neal suffered a sprained right thumb at Boston on Feb. 25.”

 

Waiting for March 22

Waiting for March 22

 

 

I’m Getting Worried About the Z Situation

New info has come out that (via ESPN) Z’s agent said Z love the city of Cleveland and the fans… but was not at all please being “used as a pawn in the Jamison trade”.  link

Also, via Windy’s podcast, Z is feeling shakey about re-joining the team that has a full roster.  In other-words, he would feel guilty forcing the Cavs to cut one of the guys.

Z Just Prior to Being the First Person to Ever "Dunk" a Bowling Ball

Z Just Prior to Being the First Person to Ever "Dunk" a Bowling Ball

Z Update: He has Officially Cleared Waivers

that’s all.

Can’t sign w/ Cavs until 3/22.  Can sign with anyone else whenever.

Chasing Z (via NBA.com)

Link here. By NBA beat writer Art Garcia

If you’re the NBA’s most eligible bachelor, who’s knocking on your door? That’s the question facing Zydrunas Ilgauskas going into mini-free agency as contenders from across the league line up with promises and prorated salaries.

The Cavaliers are the prohibitive favorites to land the former two-time All-Star, and rightfully so. Ilgauskas has spent his entire career, nearly 12 years, wearing Cleveland’s ever-changing uniform. He could return to the Cavs — who dealt him to Washington at the trade deadline — as early as March 22 and still be eligible for the playoffs, after he agreed to a buyout with the Wizards on Thursday.

But Ilgauskas has drawn varying degrees of interest from a number of other playoff-caliber clubs, too, including Atlanta, Boston, Dallas, Denver, Miami, San Antonio and Utah.

Ilgauskas can sign with any team other than the Cavs as soon as he clears waivers Monday and still be eligible for the playoffs.

The recruiting began in earnest Thursday.

“He’s going to make up his mind at his pace,” agent Herb Rudoy told NBA.com Friday. “He’s in no rush. He could decide this weekend or sometime next week, but he feels no pressure to rush into a decision.”

The Cavs could use Z right now, not next month, considering former teammate Shaquille O’Neal suffered a “significant” thumb sprain Thursday night. No timetable has been set on O’Neal’s return, but he’s out for Friday night’s visit to Toronto.

I Grew Up Next to a Nuclear Reactor

Ilgauskas returning to Cleveland makes sense for a lot of reasons. His heart remains there, the organization stood by his side through foot injuries that nearly sidelined his career and the Cavs want him back. It adds up.

“He knows I would love for him to be back here,” LeBron James told reporters Thursday before Cleveland’s win at Boston. “I want him to be back here, especially while we’re contending for a title. He’s one of the main reasons why I want to win a title for this team.”

Mavericks general manager Donnie Nelson, summing up the league sentiment, admitted that Z signing with a team other than the Cavaliers is a “long shot.” But that hasn’t stopped other contenders from wearing out Rudoy’s cellphone.

Rudoy has said he’ll listen to pitches, and other factors are in play. The waiting period, money and perhaps a new challenge could steer Z down a new road.

That’s at least the hope for interested teams that could use a playoff-tested, sweet-shooting 7-foot-3 center with career averages of nearly 14 points and eight rebounds. Ilgauskas has averaged 7.5 points, 5.3 rebounds and 20.5 minutes this season backing up Shaq.

Z, alone, wouldn’t necessarily be a difference-maker in Cleveland or elsewhere. But the 34-year-old Lithuanian certainly can help.

Finances could play a major part in Ilgauskas’ decision. He forked over about $1.5 million in the Washington buyout. And while Z has the most emotionally invested in Cleveland, the Cavs can’t make the biggest economic commitment.

Cleveland has the $1.99 million biannual exception, but because Ilgauskas has to wait to sign with the Cavs, the prorated amount for the rest of the season amounts to about $1.1 million. The Nuggets, Celtics, Spurs and Mavericks also have the biannual to use, and their prorated share — because Z can sign immediately with them — is more, approximately $1.4 million.

The Hawks, Jazz and Heat are in the position of having their full mid-level exception of $5.9 million to spend, which prorates to $4.1 million, starting Monday. That’s a full $3 million more than Cleveland can spend and $2.7 above their other competitors.

Atlanta, Utah and Miami can use any portion of the mid-level. The Jazz and Heat are also in luxury-tax territory, so that could factor into their decision. The Hawks are not. Utah just traded Ronnie Brewer last week to lessen its tax burden, so signing Ilgauskas would signal a major shift in their financial philosophy.

Other Ilgauskas suitors over the salary cap and without the biannual have the prorated share of the $1.3 million veteran’s minimum, or about $344,000 to offer, starting Monday.

The longer Z waits, the less money is an issue because the prorated portion of those competing against Cleveland shrinks with each passing day. Utah and Miami, though, still have much more to offer, if they so choose.

Ilgauskas isn’t the only player who was waived or bought out since the trade deadline. Larry Hughes, Brian Cardinal, Kenny Thomas and Brian Cook are also out there. Hughes will get the most interest, with Charlotte emerging as an early favorite. Veterans such as Mike James (Washington) and Tony Battie (New Jersey) may also be cut loose by Monday.

Ilgauskas wouldn’t be the first player traded to return to his original squad. Brent Barry (San Antonio), Gary Payton (Boston) and Antonio McDyess (Detroit) have done it before. There are examples of others who have gone on to a new team and made an impact, including Tim Thomas with the Suns in 2006 and Sam Cassell during the Celtics’ title run two years later.

Maybe that challenge is rattling around in Z’s shaven head. That’s at least the hope out for those contenders outside of Ohio.

Interested Contenders

ATLANTA

Pros: The entire midlevel to spend ($4.1 million prorated). Could back up and play alongside center Al Horford, giving the Hawks more size to battle the league’s beefier frontlines. Outside shot adds another dimension.

Cons: Of the four best teams in the East, Atlanta is regarded as fourth best.

BOSTON

Pros: Would create a formidable tandem with Kendrick Perkins at center, and eases the workload on Rasheed Wallace as the primary backup to Kevin Garnett. C’s won a title just two years ago.

Cons: Playing for perhaps the Cavs’ fiercest rival would make Z enemy No. 1 back in Cleveland.

CLEVELAND

Pros: Loyalty and connection to the only NBA organization he’s ever played for. Best record in league and the city’s first title in six decades in sight. A chance to finish what’s he’s started.

Cons: Least money to spend and crowded frontcourt with Shaq, Jamison, Anderson Varejao, J.J. Hickson, etc. Oh yeah, Cavs traded him.

DALLAS

Pros: Another big is needed behind Brendan Haywood with Erick Dampier likely out at least a month. Close ties to general manager and former Lithuanian assistant coach Donnie Nelson.

Cons: Not as much money to spend as other top suitors. Tough to play three centers once Dampier returns.

DENVER

Pros: Could use his length and skill in the anticipated showdown with the Lakers’ parade of 7-footers. Much like Chauncey Billups, Ilgauskas would add the calming presence of a veteran to the room.

Cons: Nuggets’ up-tempo attack not the perfect match for the halfcourt specialist.

MIAMI

Pros: Up to $4.1 million to spend outdistances most competitors. Z is a true center, allowing Jermaine O’Neal to play more power forward. South Beach and Dwyane Wade.

Cons: Heat are struggling to stay over .500. Title contention not likely this season with a roster with so many needs.

SAN ANTONIO

Pros: Immediately becomes best center on roster (if you don’t count Tim Duncan) and Gregg Popovich is well-respected by Euros (and everyone else). Championship pedigree, including a 4-0 sweep of Cavs in 2007.

Cons: Spurs’ sweep of Cavs in 2007. Going over the luxury tax not working out right now with Richard Jefferson. Would Spurs owner Peter Holt sign even a bigger check?

UTAH

Pros: Also have up to $4.1 million to spend. Forget Monday against the Hawks, do you really trust Kyrylo Fesenko as Mehmet Okur’s backup? Z plays a similar style to Memo, so the transition should be easy.

Cons: As well as they’ve played the last two months, the Jazz might not be seen as a true title contender by the Z camp.

Art Garcia has covered the NBA since 1999. You can e-mail him here and follow him on twitter.

Hawks Pushing Hard for Z

via Atlanta-Journal-Constitution

The Wizards and center Zydrunas Ilgauskas completed a buyout agreement on Thursday and the Hawks promptly made their pitch for the 7-foot-3 center to join them instead of returning to his former team, the Cleveland Cavaliers.

“Once he clears waivers and becomes a free agent [on Monday], hopefully he will consider us,” Hawks general manager Rick Sund said. “We talked to his agent [Herb Rudoy]. He knows we are interested, as are a couple other teams.”

Hawks coach Mike Woodson and some key players said Ilgauskas would be a great fit.

 

Z is Relaxing for Now

 

 

“He’d bring ‘veteranship,’ ” Woodson said. “And he can still play. He’s a big presence on the block, he can make shots, he can make free throws, he can rebound and he can block shots.”

Hawks forward Joe Smith said he plans to contact Ilgauskas, who was his teammate during Smith’s two stints in Cleveland during the 2007-08 and 2008-09 seasons.

“I will try to reach out to him and see what he’s thinking,” Smith said. “I hope his mind is not made up.”

It is widely assumed Ilgauskas will return to the Cavaliers, who drafted him in 1997. He has said his “heart is in Cleveland” but Rudoy said Ilgauskas will consider signing with the Hawks and will take his time with the decision.

Dallas, Denver and Utah also are expected to recruit Ilgauskas. The Cavs have to wait 30 days after they traded Ilgauskas on Feb. 17 to re-sign him, while any other team can sign him as soon as he clears waivers on Monday at 2 p.m. No team in the league has the necessary salary cap space to claim Ilgauskas off waivers.

In order to become a free agent and join a contender, Ilgauskas gave back to the Wizards $1.5 million of the prorated portion of his $11.5 million salary due, according to the Washington Post. The Hawks have both their mid-level and bi-annual salary cap exceptions available to make room for his contract but it’s not expected that Ilgauskas’ prorated salary will be large enough to require them. That puts the Hawks and his other suitors on roughly the same level with salary offers.

Ilgauskas’ motivations aren’t clear beyond his desire to play for a team capable of making a deep playoff run. The Hawks and Jazz appear to offer him the best opportunity for minutes.

In Cleveland he was playing a career-low 20.5 minutes per game in a frontcourt that included Shaquille O’Neal, Anderson Varejao and J.J. Hickson. The Cavaliers now also have power forward Antawn Jamison, who was acquired from Washington in the three-team trade that included Ilgauskas.

Ilgauskas would stand to get significant minutes in the Hawks’ power rotation. Jason Collins, the only 7-footer on the roster, has played sparingly. Zaza Pachulia (6-11), the primary reserve at center, has struggled lately. Horford (6-10), the starter at center, could play power forward alongside Ilgauskas with Josh Smith at small forward.

Ilgauskas, 34, had foot problems early in his career but played in 73 or more games in each season from 2002 through 2008. He played in 65 games last season and 53 so far this season.

Among the teams pursuing Ilgauskas, the Cavaliers, who lead the Eastern Conference, would appear to have the best shot at reaching the Finals. The Hawks were seven games behind Cleveland in fourth place entering Thursday’s schedule and could try to sell Ilgauskas on being the player to help them break through to the East finals.

“We are playing well,” Joe Smith said. “We’ve got just as good of a shot at the finals as anyone.”

LeBron Goes Public With His Want for Z’s Return

LeBron is nothing if not loyal.  He has played with Z longer than he’s played with anyone else his whole life (including the fab 4)

via YahooSports!

WASHINGTON (AP)—Zydrunas Ilgauskas was waived Thursday by the Washington Wizards, and his old teammates want him to return to Cleveland.

“He knows I would love for him to be back here. I want him to be back here, especially while we’re contending for a title,” LeBron James said before the Cavaliers’ game in Boston. “He’s one of the main reasons why I want to win a title for this team.”

 

Big Z and LBJ

 

 

The 7-foot-3 Ilgauskas, who was acquired from Cleveland on Feb. 17 as part of the three-team trade that sent Antawn Jamison(notes) to the Cavaliers, didn’t play for Washington. He reported on Feb. 19, took a physical and immediately returned to Cleveland.

The 34-year-old is averaging 7.5 points and 5.3 rebounds this season.

“We agreed to terms with Zydrunas on a contract buyout, giving us further financial flexibility and allowing our young big men to continue to develop over the remainder of the season,” Wizards president Ernie Grunfeld said.

No team is far enough under the salary cap to absorb Ilgauskas’ $11.5 million salary for this season, so he will become a free agent eligible to join any team once he clears waivers. He would be able to rejoin the Cavaliers in 30 days, but could sign with another team immediately.

“I’m expecting to talk to about half a dozen teams in the league, including the Cavaliers,” Herb Rudoy, Ilgauskas’ agent said.

“He’s not going to rush into anything. He has time. He’ll let me know what he wants to do.”

Though he lost his starting job this season after the Cavs acquired Shaquille O’Neal, a return to the Cavs could be attractive for Ilgauskas. He’s spent his entire career in Cleveland after he was drafted in 1996, and the Cavaliers are one of the favorites to win the NBA championship this season.

“I think any playoff team—and that’s what we, we’re a playoff team—any playoff team would like to have his services, so we’d be just as eager as anybody else,” Cleveland coach Mike Brown said.

Over his 12-year career, Ilgauskas has averaged 13.9 points and 7.7 rebounds.

Powe Played, Officially a Cav

By logging 4 minute in last nights win over the Celtics with 4 points and 2 rebounds, Leon Powe has officially entered the ranks of a Cav. Congrats!

Leon Powe