2005 was Zydrunas Ilgauskas year when he played in the All-stars and have missed just 9 games throughout the season after being in and out of the Cavaliers roster for most of his career due to injuries on top of all that he was offered a $55 million 5 year contract to extend his stay in Cleveland. Z has been with the Cavaliers since they drafted him in 1996 as the 20th overall pick. He had been with them when they are riding a 66-16 in the 08-09 season and he played all 81 games when they are in the bottom standing 17-65 in the 02-03 season. 5 years later Z has been limited to a backup center with the signing of Shaquille O’neal his minutes became limited and his foot injuries are starting to take its toll. He still commands double teams but his offense are not needed when they have Lebron James, Anthony Parker, Mo Williams and Shaquille O’neal. Z got traded to the Wizards in a six-player trade involving three teams sending Jamison to the Cavaliers, Al thornton to the Wizards, Drew Gooden to the Clippers and Sebastian Telfair to Cleveland. Z will not be playing with the Wizards and will be waiting for the 30-day grace period before the Cavaliers would sign him back but any teams can sign him once his contract is bought.
The Atlanta Hawks showed interest in signing the 7-foot-3 Lithuanian this season. Z is a perfect fit on the Hawks roster aside from not having 7-footers in the line up they need someone who is a good post up player and can shoot the perimeter. He can really help the Hawks deep in the playoffs with Horford in the power forward position and Josh Smith going down to small forward. Z still wants to play with the sure shot Cavaliers who is on the top standings right now and could go down all the way to the finals with a lot of firepower on their roster but he will have to spend more minutes in the bench playing as a backup center for the 37 year old O’neal. The Hawks can give Z the minutes he wants, he can demand the amount of money he needs to be signed and most of all he would be the focal offense on the Hawks roster. He could play with the Cavaliers for one last time for glory or with the Hawks guiding young athletes to their top potential.
It’s been almost 5 years since Z got a fat $55 million contract and an All-star…Maybe this time would be some reminiscin of that year… Z deserves it.