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Ilgauskas on time with Wizards: 'I was undefeated, wasn't I?'

Zydrunas Ilgauskas wasn't necessarily in the mood to talk about it when I first approached him.

"You have nothing else to write?" Ilgauskas asked me when I wanted to get his thoughts about his very, very brief stint as a Washington Wizard.

"It was okay," Ilgauskas said. "I wouldn't put it on the top of my list of lifetime experiences, but life is life, stuff happens. You've got to deal with it and move on."


Welcome back, Big Z. Wait, who are you, again? (Photo by David Liam Kyle/NBAE via Getty Images)

Ilgauskas never played for the Wizards, never planned to, after the Cleveland Cavaliers traded him on Feb. 17 to acquire Antawn Jamison. Ilgauskas showed up for his physical two days later, and surrendered $1.5 million of his salary for the right to become a free agent shortly thereafter.

After he got his buyout from the Wizards, several teams lobbied for his services, including Atlanta, Dallas and Denver. But as expected, Ilgauskas waited 30 days and returned to the only NBA team he's represented since entering the league in 1996.

When I reminded Ilgauskas that the Wizards had one of their most successful stretches of the season in the few days that he was on the roster, he started to loosen up a bit. "I was undefeated, wasn't I?" Ilgauskas said with a chuckle. "The day I showed for my physical, we beat Denver. So, I did okay there."

Although Ilgauskas has only worn a Cavaliers uniform, he told me that he kept the No. 17 Wizards jersey that team equipment manager Rob Suller shipped him to his home in Cleveland. "Of course I did," he said. "It's part of my history."

Ilgauskas is beloved in Cleveland. He'll go down as one of the greatest to ever wear a Cavaliers' uniform. But his return to Cleveland generated a little uproar, with the Cavaliers essentially getting Jamison and Ilgauskas after an in-season vacation. Some were upset with the rule in the collective bargaining agreement that allows teams to stockpile talent by making trades while getting back the players they dealt away.

Last week, NBA Commissioner David Stern admitted that the rule is "not a great idea" and expects a longer waiting period will be worked out in the next round of negotiations.

But now that Ilgauskas has been relegated to seldom-used backup center -- so deep in the rotation that Anderson Varejao, J.J. Hickson and even Leon Powe get minutes before him -- you sort of have to wonder what all the fuss was about. He's played just five minutes in four games against Boston.

Ilgauskas's return to Cleveland hasn't resulted in the playing time that he had hoped for or expected, but he doesn't regret his decision. "I looked at my options and I decided I wanted to come here," he said. "When push came down to shove, it was an easy decision for me."

By Michael Lee  |  May 11, 2010; 12:45 PM ET
 
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Comments

Ilgauskas is a chump, a puppet & a tool. Used by the Cavs when shown the door, and when given options, back he chose to return (while still sportin footprints that dirtied his rear when kicked out). He may be an o-kay ballplayer, but in my eyes, upon this episode, he lost all that makes him a man.

Posted by: SkinzFanzz | May 11, 2010 1:15 PM | Report abuse

Ilgauskas showed up for his physical two days later, and surrendered $1.5 million of his salary for the right to become a free agent shortly thereafter.

Good luck signing a good free agent to play here when guys are willing to give up 1.5 million not to play here?

Posted by: bulletsfan78 | May 11, 2010 1:19 PM | Report abuse

"Ilgauskas is a chump, a puppet & a tool. Used by the Cavs when shown the door, and when given options, back he chose to return (while still sportin footprints that dirtied his rear when kicked out). He may be an o-kay ballplayer, but in my eyes, upon this episode, he lost all that makes him a man.Posted by: SkinzFanzz"

What? Ilgauskas knew why the team released him and what they would pay him to re-sign after 30 days. In return, Cleveland got a player they wanted and Big Z got another shot at a ring. The Wiz didn't care -- they just didn't want to have to pay the guy.

Posted by: Samson151 | May 11, 2010 1:40 PM | Report abuse

"He may be an o-kay ballplayer, but in my eyes, upon this episode, he lost all that makes him a man.
Posted by: SkinzFanzz | May 11, 2010 1:15 PM"

Maybe he can be a real man again if he changes his name to, "Ilgauzkazzz."

Posted by: disgruntledfan | May 11, 2010 1:41 PM | Report abuse

"Ilgauskas is a chump, a puppet & a tool. Used by the Cavs when shown the door, and when given options, back he chose to return (while still sportin footprints that dirtied his rear when kicked out). He may be an o-kay ballplayer, but in my eyes, upon this episode, he lost all that makes him a man."

Because a real man would have given the potential NBA champs the finger and defiantly suited up to spend possibly his last season in the NBA playing 30 mpg for a train wreck of a franchise on the fast track to the crapper?

Posted by: kalo_rama | May 11, 2010 1:51 PM | Report abuse

If Z still wanted to big minutes, he would have followed Backup Haywoood to Dallas.

Posted by: divi3 | May 11, 2010 2:27 PM | Report abuse

A manz got to do what a manz got to do.

Posted by: djnnnou | May 11, 2010 2:30 PM | Report abuse

I'm not seeing what Ilgauskas did wrong here. He's a veteran guy late in the downside of his career (which has been a good one), he's shipped to a team in total chaos, he takes advantage of a lousy rule that's not of his making, and he returns to the team that he loves. If he stayed and took minutes from JaVale, everyone would be going crazy over that--and for good reason, because we saw that JaVale grew as he got more minutes. I've got a lot of respect for the Ilgauskas and his taltent (he was a go-to guy during Clevland's down years), and wish him the best.

Posted by: jweber1 | May 11, 2010 2:34 PM | Report abuse

Not surprised Z hasn't gotten much PT so far. The Bulls are a small quick team and the Celtics best offensive bigs are either too mobile, jumpshooters, or both. Where they'll really need him (assuming they get there) is 6 extra fouls against Howard and to draw Gasol/Bynum away from the paint.

Posted by: kalo_rama | May 11, 2010 2:46 PM | Report abuse

if Z would've gotten thirty a night here in dc I would've tried to kill flip, having him not get one minute for our roster was exactly what should have happened for both parties, blatche is already a better player than aj, our trades already look better based on dallas being fool's gold and the mighty cavs getting a taste of toughness from beantown, right now its hard for me to imagine cleveland getting past orlando, hell they might not even get to play the magic, also this is somewhat random but how did varejao take a shot to the groin like he did the other day from rondo and not get queasy? I've dropped the remote on the sensitive region and been in worse pain

Posted by: bford1kb | May 11, 2010 3:20 PM | Report abuse

maybe he wears a cup.

he is from brazil, so perhaps he's really a she.

Posted by: divi3 | May 11, 2010 3:24 PM | Report abuse

Well this is definitely a non-story....of course, the NBA is always a non-story in DC by mid-May....hehe

Ah, the Wiz saved a few bucks, Z got to stay home, it freed up Jamison (who payed his dues on crappy Washington teams for years) to have a title shot in his last few years, and it's not like Z is a great talent now anyway. Let's not overreact here.

Wanna be enraged about something? Then get mad about Arenas getting off basically scot free for his gun crime....a situation he created that will likely destroy Jarvis Crittendon's basketball career (you don't hear about that much)

Posted by: Max_in_Missouri | May 11, 2010 3:42 PM | Report abuse

arenas' punishment is very much in-line with DC sentencing, he did not get off easy. You wanna be enraged? Look at the MURDERERS who get off in DC for various witness related reasons.

Posted by: divi3 | May 11, 2010 3:47 PM | Report abuse

Thought I was reading a J. Reid non story...120 seconds I can't get back

Posted by: kahlua87 | May 11, 2010 3:48 PM | Report abuse

I got buckets, son.

--Oh, wait. That was Pech...

Posted by: jcbcmb68 | May 11, 2010 4:01 PM | Report abuse

. . . ."a situation he created that will likely destroy Jarvis Crittendon's basketball career (you don't hear about that much)"

There's a good reason for that.

Posted by: kalo_rama | May 11, 2010 4:02 PM | Report abuse

Wanna be enraged about something? Then get mad about Arenas getting off basically scot free for his gun crime....a situation he created that will likely destroy Jarvis Crittendon's basketball career (you don't hear about that much)

Posted by: Max_in_Missouri

Aside from what divi said, Crit's career is likely not destroyed, just derailed. He'll end up in the D-league or in Europe, where he probably should have been anyway to work on his skills. If he has the goods, he'll be back in the NBA eventually. He's only 22, he has time to make it back.

And also, if the last reported version is correct, when confronted with Gil's guns in his locker, Crit responded by saying he had his own gun and pulling it out, meaning he was already breaking the same NBA rule and laws as Gil.

Posted by: ts35 | May 11, 2010 4:10 PM | Report abuse

Jarvis destroyed his own career...he's a grown man who made his own choices.

And Big Z did what any of us would have done and he didn't break any rules...more power to him

Posted by: kahlua87 | May 11, 2010 4:36 PM | Report abuse

UCK Filgauskas!

Posted by: ntlekt | May 11, 2010 6:41 PM | Report abuse

"Pollins "Living for the city" with free Stevie Wonder event."

I just read this.

Epitomizes the word "cheap" doesn't it?

Big Z sucks.

- Ray

Posted by: rmcazz | May 11, 2010 7:04 PM | Report abuse

Ilgauskas is in the playoffs with a team that he loves. The wizards are at home and have no idea who will be starting next year. Do the math!!!!

Posted by: jjack1 | May 11, 2010 7:09 PM | Report abuse

Why is Boston in the lead at halftime?

LarryInClintonMD.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | May 11, 2010 9:21 PM | Report abuse

Did I just see a commercial where Lebron just went on Gilbert for sleeping in hyperbaric chambers?

LarryInClintonMD.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | May 11, 2010 9:28 PM | Report abuse

Not surprised Z hasn't gotten much PT so far. The Bulls are a small quick team and the Celtics best offensive bigs are either too mobile, jumpshooters, or both. Where they'll really need him (assuming they get there) is 6 extra fouls against Howard and to draw Gasol/Bynum away from the paint.

Posted by: kalo_rama | May 11, 2010 2:46 PM

Oh Really!

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | May 11, 2010 9:36 PM | Report abuse

An offensive foul called on Lebron. Wow! Its about time they called one of them football moves.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | May 11, 2010 9:49 PM | Report abuse

They are howling in the Cleveland Coliseum. Funny!

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | May 11, 2010 9:55 PM | Report abuse

Whats goins ons ins Cleveland?

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | May 11, 2010 10:19 PM | Report abuse

Larry,

How many games does Cleveland win next year with this roster?

Jamison PF
Hickson SF
Varejao C
Williams PG
West SG

19?

How happy is AJ going to be that Ernie traded him?

Posted by: bulletsfan78 | May 11, 2010 10:37 PM | Report abuse

Dosen't appear that AJ, Shack, or Ilgauskas, is a difference maker for dem' dar' Caveliers.

LarryInClintonMD.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | May 11, 2010 11:45 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, BulletsFan78, I was thinking the same thing about AJ next year. Thats gonna really suck.

But as I had suspected, Lebron may really be hurt, poor fellow, and if they don't get it together next game in Boston, those fellows in Cleveland will be just as disappointed about this season as the Wizards.

Now isn't that funny?

LarryInClintonMD.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | May 11, 2010 11:56 PM | Report abuse

I hate the Celts, but also want the Cavs to lose.

It's funny to see how the Shaq and MeTawn acquisitions haven't made them that much more dominant.

Again MeTawn is taking his shots, but not getting to the FT line.

It'll be funny if/when the Cavs lose the series.

I think Lebron is too injured to step up, and there's no reliable wing man like MJ-Pippen.

Why is Mo Williams the starting PG when Boobie Gibson is healthy?

Posted by: DC_MAN88 | May 12, 2010 12:11 AM | Report abuse

Wow, Boston looked great. I probably shouldn't forget that this is a club that went 26-15 on the road (same as the Cavs) but only 24-17 at home. When's the last time you saw a disparity like that? Although the Miami Heat were pretty close...

Posted by: Samson151 | May 12, 2010 12:12 AM | Report abuse

Can't wait to see Ted's Wizards play Cleveland next year and watch AB light up AJ and then we get to listen to Flip get on AB for letting AJ Psych him out by not playing any "D"?

Posted by: bulletsfan78 | May 12, 2010 1:26 AM | Report abuse

"Ilgauskas is a chump, a puppet & a tool. Used by the Cavs when shown the door, and when given options, back he chose to return (while still sportin footprints that dirtied his rear when kicked out). He may be an o-kay ballplayer, but in my eyes, upon this episode, he lost all that makes him a man.Posted by: SkinzFanzz"

What? Ilgauskas knew why the team released him and what they would pay him to re-sign after 30 days. In return, Cleveland got a player they wanted and Big Z got another shot at a ring. The Wiz didn't care -- they just didn't want to have to pay the guy.

Posted by: Samson151 | May 11, 2010 1:40 PM | Report abuse

I guess it all depends on how you look at it SAM.

Posted by: glawrence007 | May 12, 2010 7:50 AM | Report abuse

Wanna be enraged about something? Then get mad about Arenas getting off basically scot free for his gun crime....a situation he created that will likely destroy Jarvis Crittendon's basketball career (you don't hear about that much)

Posted by: Max_in_Missouri | May 11, 2010 3:42 PM

Sorry. Crittenton destroyed his own career when he decided to be a certified dummy (original gansta?) and bring his own gun to the locker room. Shed no tears.

Posted by: artiesliver | May 12, 2010 8:56 AM | Report abuse

I hope the Cavs bounce back in Game 6. I hate both teams but I want the series to go seven so whoever wins is a bit worn out when they face the Magic.

Posted by: kalo_rama | May 12, 2010 9:22 AM | Report abuse

"Why is Mo Williams the starting PG when Boobie Gibson is healthy?"

Because Gibson isn't a PG.

Posted by: kalo_rama | May 12, 2010 9:26 AM | Report abuse

Funny both the Mavs and Cavs looked to a 19 win team for the pieces supposed to put them over the top....and look where that's gotten them.

Posted by: divi3 | May 12, 2010 9:26 AM | Report abuse

A prospect to watch in the coming draft: Kevin Seraphin, a 6'9" 260lb. PF from Senegal. A defender, very strong on the blocks, athletic, with a 7'3" wingspan (DeJuan Blair country). A project but looks well worth it. Might last to 30.

About Cole Aldrich: he'll never be a scorer in the NBA, but unlike McGee, he's very difficult to back down under the basket. Marc Gasol would never be able to do to Aldrich what he routinely does to McGee, for instance.

Posted by: Samson151 | May 12, 2010 9:27 AM | Report abuse

"Funny both the Mavs and Cavs looked to a 19 win team for the pieces supposed to put them over the top....and look where that's gotten them."

Exactly.

Also proof positive (if such is needed) of the "Greater Fool" theory.

Posted by: shovetheplanet | May 12, 2010 10:02 AM | Report abuse

"Funny both the Mavs and Cavs looked to a 19 win team for the pieces supposed to put them over the top....and look where that's gotten them."

The T'Wolves won 33 games the season before Garnett got traded. The Sonics won 31 games the season before Ray Allen got traded. The Grizzlies won 22 games the season Gasol got traded. Just because a guy plays on a bad team doesn't mean he can't have impact on a good one. Jamison, Butler, and Haywood are no more the main reason those teams fell/appear to be falling short than they would be the main reason if they won a title.

Posted by: kalo_rama | May 12, 2010 10:12 AM | Report abuse

Butler is home now. Haywood is home. Jamison is on his way home. All three of these players are overrated. Especially Jamison (looked like the same old bum last night, and can't guard a soul. Garrnet killed him.)

Posted by: digger76 | May 12, 2010 11:22 AM | Report abuse

Ilgauskas showed up for his physical two days later, and surrendered $1.5 million of his salary for the right to become a free agent shortly thereafter.

Good luck signing a good free agent to play here when guys are willing to give up 1.5 million not to play here?

Posted by: bulletsfan78 | May 11, 2010 1:19 PM | Report abuse

I think it's been pretty well established that bulletsfan78 is an absolute moron. That much we know. But the above comment might take his imbecile status on this blog to a whole new level.

Ilgauskas leaving a rebuilding team late in the season to return to the team he has spent his entire 14 year career with, which happens to be the best team in the NBA at the time, which "giving up" $1.5 million (which was actually just a few hundred thousand considering he got a new contract with Cleveland once he re-signed) says absolutely nothing about future free agents signing here--you unbelievable idiot.

Posted by: Barno1 | May 12, 2010 11:41 AM | Report abuse

Fools gold having Haywood guard Garnett.

Why? Why even attempt?

Anybody with any BBall smarts would not have Jamison trying to guard Garnett.

Why?

Don't they have at least three other guys more capable of playing big man defense against Garnett than Jamison.

Questionable coaching.

LarryInClintonMD.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | May 12, 2010 11:47 AM | Report abuse

In other news...

Posted by: richs91 | May 12, 2010 12:53 PM | Report abuse

Because Gibson isn't a PG.

Posted by: kalo_rama | May 12, 2010 9:26 AM | Report abuse

http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/players/profile?playerId=3006

Posted by: DC_MAN88 | May 12, 2010 5:59 PM | Report abuse

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