The Cleveland Cavaliers have brought in shooters, shooters and more shooters this off-season to pair up with Kyrie Irving and LeBron James. James’ return was obviously the catalyst to Mike Miller, James Jones, Shawn Marion and Kevin Love being acquired by the Cavs. The biggest area that the team hasn’t addressed yet is the backup center spot. Could Zydrunas Ilgauskas, Big Z, be the answer to the Cavs problems?
According to reports, Tony Rizzo last night on his radio show stated that Big Z could return to the Cavs this year and play 10 to 15 minutes:
Rizzo on his TV show just now: Big Z likely coming back to Cavs to play 10-15 minutes a game.
— Steve Doerschuk (@sdoerschukREP) August 25, 2014
Ilgauskas is a Cavs legend, with his number retired last year in that great halftime ceremony. He also was reportedly a big part of the recruiting of James to return to Cleveland. It is well known that James was unhappy he couldn’t get Big Z a ring, even bringing him to Miami his first year there to try to resolve that issue.
Z is considered James’ favorite teammates ever, with starting center Anderson Varejao on a short list of favorites as well. Big Z hasn’t played since that ’10-’11 season with the Heat and would have a ton of rust to chip off before being a useful member of the squad. Yet is it crazy to think that he might return?
For the Cavs this seems like an easy one. Keep James happy, a title for the fan favorite and a backup center that might be able to contribute at some level. Using up a roster spot on that type of player may seem like a stretch but for the Cavs it could be a risk worth taking. Especially if they can’t acquire anyone, using the assets that remain on the team after the Love trade, to take that spot.
For Z the question is whether he is up for it. It makes some sense that a few years off the floor has done wonders for his feet and back, relieving the pressure and strain. Big Z seemed in shape when last seen in public but “in shape” and “NBA shape” are clearly two different things. 10 to 15 minutes a night playing defense and running pick and pop action could be a lot of fun for Z. His last go around in Miami wasn’t a pretty sight, could he want to wash that bad taste out of his mouth? Will he embarrass himself more coming back now?
What do you think about Big Z’s possible return?