With Erick Dampier sidelined, the Mavs are rumored to be interested in the services of buyout candidate, Zydrunas Ilgauskas. That said, I wouldn’t hold your breath.
Ilgauskas is a decent enough option as an emergency back-up, but there are two possibilities far more likely than him ending up in Dallas:
- Big Z could end up staying a Wizard. The Wiz are now under the luxury tax line thanks to a smart move that shed Dominic McGuire’s contract, and don’t really have an incentive to cut Ilgauskas aside from doing the guy a personal favor. Now, Z could put the pressure back on the Wizards organization if he agrees to a substantially reduced buyout, but I’m not sure that would be the wisest thing for an aging center on his last big NBA deal.
- If the Wizards do cut Ilgauskas loose, there’s not question that Cleveland is the favorite to sign him. Zydrunas has a ridiculous amount of history with that city and that team, and I have no qualms in saying that if released, Big Z returning to Cleveland is pretty much a lock. Here’s what he told Mary Schmitt Boyer of the Cleveland Plain Dealer:
“Right now I’m a Wizard,” he said. “I think eventually they’ll let me go, but that’s just my guess. They haven’t told me anything yet. First I’ve got to go to Washington, and hopefully after a couple of days they’ll let me go home.”
Home. Home is where Ilgauskas has played for the last 12 seasons. It’s where he played 760 games. It’s where he was named a two-time All-Star, went to the NBA Finals, and hopes to return for a championship. Zydrunas Ilgauskas is going straight back (ahem, after 30 days) to Cleveland if the opportunity presents itself, and no team in the league — not Dallas, not Atlanta, and not any other contender should they come knocking at his door — is going to stop him.