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Zydrunas Ilgauskas

Zydrunas Ilgauskas
Ilgauskas with the Cavaliers in 2009
Personal information
Born (1975-06-05) June 5, 1975
Kaunas, Lithuanian SSR, Soviet Union
Nationality Lithuanian / American
Listed height 7 ft 3 in (2.21 m)
Listed weight 260 lb (118 kg)
Career information
NBA draft 1996 / Round: 1 / Pick: 20th overall
Selected by the Cleveland Cavaliers
Pro career 1993–2011
Position Center
Number 11
Career history
1993–1996 Atletas Kaunas (Lithuania)
19962010 Cleveland Cavaliers
2010–2011 Miami Heat
Career highlights and awards
Career statistics
Points 10,976 (13.0 ppg)
Rebounds 6,191 (7.3 rpg)
Blocks 1,327 (1.6 bpg)
Stats at Basketball-Reference.com

Zydrunas Ilgauskas (Lithuanian: Žydrūnas Ilgauskas; Lithuanian pronunciation: ; born June 5, 1975) is an American-Lithuanian retired professional basketball center (basketball) of the National Basketball Association (NBA).[1] He played for the Cavaliers from 1996 to 2010, and is the team's career leader in games played, rebounds, and blocks. He also played for the Miami Heat during the 2010–11 season.[2]

In 2012, Ilgauskas joined the Cavaliers' front office, becoming a special advisor for the team.[3][4]

Contents

  • Professional career 1
    • Early career 1.1
    • Cleveland Cavaliers 1.2
    • Miami Heat 1.3
  • National team 2
  • Front office work 3
  • NBA career statistics 4
    • Regular season 4.1
    • Playoffs 4.2
  • Personal life 5
  • See also 6
  • References 7
  • External links 8

Professional career

Early career

Ilgauskas made his pro debut in his birthplace of Kaunas, Lithuania, with the Atletas Basketball Club in 1993. He averaged 20.3 points, 12.8 rebounds and 2.8 blocks per game in the 1994–95 season.

Cleveland Cavaliers

Ilgauskas attempting a free throw

Ilgauskas was selected by the Cleveland Cavaliers with the 20th overall pick in the 1996 NBA draft. On August 1, 1996, he signed a multi-year deal with the Cavaliers. In the earliest parts of his career he suffered through a myriad of foot and ankle injuries. He spent the entire 1996–97 season on the injured list due to a broken bone in his right foot.

Despite being selected to the All-Rookie First Team in 1997–98 and signing a contract extension in 1998 that was worth $70.9 million over 6 years, Ilgauskas played in only 5 games over the next two seasons. On January 26, 2000, he had a surgery on a fractured navicular bone in his left foot.

He re-gained the starting center spot for the Cavaliers in 2000–01. He was injured again in December 2000 and was out for the season. The injury dealt a blow to the Cavaliers. After winning 15 out of 23 games with Ilgauskas, they finished with a 30–52 record.

He returned in December 2001 and was mostly used as a backup to Chris Mihm for the rest of the season.

Ilgauskas averaged 17.2 points and 7.5 rebounds in 2002–03. He was selected as an All-Star, but the Cavaliers finished with the third-worst record in team history (17–65) and landed the number one draft pick.

The Cavaliers drafted high school phenomenon and future NBA MVP LeBron James in 2003. James teamed up with Ilgauskas and Drew Gooden to form the core of the team. Ilgauskas only missed 9 games over the next three seasons and was selected as an All-Star again in 2005.

Ilgauskas in a game against the Washington Wizards in 2009

On July 12, 2005, Ilgauskas signed a contract extension with the Cavaliers. The deal was reportedly worth over $55 million over 5 years.[5][6]

For the next four seasons, Ilgauskas was the starting center for the team, which had turned into a contender. They reached the NBA Finals in 2007 and the Eastern Conference Finals in 2009. In summer 2009, the Cavaliers acquired Shaquille O'Neal.[7] When asked about the trade, Ilgauskas responded: "I was just reading the news. That means I'll probably be coming off the bench."[8][9] On December 2, 2009, Ilgauskas came off the bench in a game against Phoenix Suns to break the team record for career games played, overtaking General Manager Danny Ferry.[10]

On February 17, 2010, Ilgauskas, along with a 2010 first round pick and the rights to Emir Preldžič, was traded from the Cleveland Cavaliers to the Washington Wizards as part of a three-team, six-player trade that sent Antawn Jamison from Washington to Cleveland, Al Thornton from the Los Angeles Clippers to Washington, Drew Gooden from Washington to Los Angeles, and Sebastian Telfair from Los Angeles to Cleveland.[11] On February 25, 2010, the Wizards bought out his contract, making him a free agent.[12] Ilgauskas did not play in any games for the Wizards.[13] It was possible for Ilgauskas to return to the Cavaliers, but only after a thirty-day waiting period policy required for players traded from their former teams after being bought out of their contract by their new team. He was still free to sign with any other team.

On March 23, 2010 Ilgauskas signed a one-year deal for the remainder of the 2009–2010 season with the Cleveland Cavaliers.[14][15] He made his return a day later in a win over the New Orleans Hornets. In his first home game back with the team, against the Sacramento Kings, Ilgauskas received huge ovations and support from the crowd. Quicken Loans Arena was affectionately renamed "The Z" for the day, in honor of the Lithuanian.

The 2010 NBA Playoffs marked the first time in Ilgauskas' career in which he was not a significant part of the Cavaliers' rotation. Ilgauskas saw only 69 minutes of floor time in the entire postseason, resulting in averages of 1.7 PPG and 1.6 RPG, far below his career playoff production. The Cavs were eliminated by the Boston Celtics in the Eastern Conference semifinals.

Miami Heat

Ilgauskas with the Heat

On July 17, 2010 Ilgauskas signed a one-year $1,352,181 contract with the Miami Heat.[1] The Heat's signings of Chris Bosh, Dwyane Wade and long-time teammate LeBron James influenced Ilgauskas's decision to join the Heat.[16] On December 2, 2010, the Heat's first game in Cleveland, the fans cheered Ilgauskas in pre-game introductions, while booing the rest of the starters, including James. The Heat made the 2011 NBA Finals, but fell short to the Dallas Mavericks in six games.

In September 2011, Ilgauskas told The Plain Dealer that he was retiring from basketball, saying he wanted to spend more time with his family as well as citing long-term personal physical fatigue and basic bodily wear-and-tear.[17]

National team

Ilgauskas made his debut with the Lithuania national team in 1994, when the team was qualifying for a spot in the Eurobasket 1995. He averaged 7.7 points and 7 rebounds per game.[18] Ilgauskas later wanted to play for the Lithuania national team in the 2008 Summer Olympics, but the Cavaliers did not permit him to play due to his injury history.[19] Žydrūnas Ilgauskas played only three official matches with the Lithuania national basketball team in his whole career.

Front office work

On January 11, 2012, Ilgauskas made a return to Cleveland when he was hired by then Cleveland Cavaliers GM Chris Grant to serve as his assistant, of which part of his duties would be to evaluate amateur and pro talent prospects.[20]

On March 8, 2014, Ilgauskas' number 11 was retired by the Cleveland Cavaliers, becoming just the third European to be honored this way by an NBA team after Dražen Petrović and Vlade Divac.[21][22][23]

NBA career statistics

Regular season

Year Team GP GS MPG FG% 3P% FT% RPG APG SPG BPG PPG
1997–98 Cleveland 82 81 29.0 .518 .250 .762 8.8 .9 .6 1.6 13.9
1998–99 Cleveland 5 5 34.2 .509 .000 .600 8.8 .8 .8 1.4 15.2
2000–01 Cleveland 24 24 25.7 .487 .000 .679 6.7 .8 .6 1.5 11.7
2001–02 Cleveland 62 23 21.4 .425 .000 .754 5.4 1.1 .3 1.4 11.1
2002–03 Cleveland 81 81 30.0 .441 .000 .781 7.5 1.6 .7 1.9 17.2
2003–04 Cleveland 81 81 31.3 .483 .286 .746 8.1 1.3 .5 2.5 15.3
2004–05 Cleveland 78 78 33.5 .468 .286 .799 8.6 1.3 .7 2.1 16.9
2005–06 Cleveland 78 78 29.3 .506 .000 .834 7.6 1.2 .5 1.7 15.6
2006–07 Cleveland 78 78 27.3 .485 .000 .807 7.7 1.6 .6 1.3 11.9
2007–08 Cleveland 73 73 30.4 .474 .000 .802 9.3 1.4 .5 1.6 14.1
2008–09 Cleveland 65 65 27.2 .472 .385 .799 7.5 1.0 .4 1.3 12.9
2009–10 Cleveland 64 6 20.9 .443 .478 .743 5.4 .8 .2 .8 7.4
2010–11 Miami 72 51 15.9 .508 .000 .783 4.0 .4 .3 .8 5.0
Career 843 724 27.2 .476 .310 .780 7.3 1.1 .5 1.6 13.0
All-Star 2 0 10.5 .556 .000 1.000 3.5 .5 .0 1.0 6.0

Playoffs

Year Team GP GS MPG FG% 3P% FT% RPG APG SPG BPG PPG
1998 Cleveland 4 4 36.8 .571 .000 .520 7.5 .5 .5 1.3 17.3
2006 Cleveland 13 13 27.2 .454 .000 .750 6.3 .8 .4 2.1 10.4
2007 Cleveland 20 20 32.5 .492 .000 .838 9.7 .9 .5 .8 12.6
2008 Cleveland 13 13 30.2 .479 .000 .818 7.5 1.6 .4 1.1 13.1
2009 Cleveland 14 14 29.1 .449 .154 .636 7.8 1.2 .4 .9 10.5
2010 Cleveland 7 0 9.9 .385 .000 .667 1.6 .4 .0 1.0 1.7
2011 Miami 9 8 11.6 .467 .000 .667 3.6 .3 .0 .3 3.6
Career 80 72 26.5 .477 .154 .744 6.9 .9 .3 1.1 10.2

Personal life

Ilgauskas married his wife, Jennifer, during the summer of 2004. In 2007, the couple lost a set of twins due to pregnancy complications that caused the infants to be born four months premature.[24] In the summer of 2009, Ilgauskas adopted two Lithuanian brothers (aged five and four at the time) from his hometown of Kaunas.[25]

Ilgauskas is an avid reader, of military history in particular, and often reads in the locker room before games.[26]

Ilgauskas became a United States citizen in 2014. Due to that, he lost his Lithuanian citizenship, as the country limits the possibility of dual-citizenship.[27]

See also

References

  1. ^ a b Basketball Wiretap Archives: Heat Sign Zydrunas Ilgauskas. RealGM (2010-07-17). Retrieved on 2010-12-16.
  2. ^ "Cleveland Cavaliers Career Leaders". basketball-reference.com. Retrieved November 1, 2011. 
  3. ^ Zydrunas Ilgauskas returns to Cavaliers in front-office role, Boston Herald, January 18, 2012, Retrieved on 2012-1-19.
  4. ^ Z's comeback - Yahoo.com
  5. ^ Cavs to sign big man to five-year deal
  6. ^ Cavaliers to announce re-signing of C Ilgauskas on Tuesday
  7. ^ Cavaliers Acquire 15-Time NBA All-Star and Four-Time NBA Champion Shaquille ONeal
  8. ^ Cavaliers center Zydrunas Ilgauskas reacts to the arrival of Shaquille O'Neal
  9. ^ Zydrunas Ilgauskas knows what it means that Shaquille O'Neal has joined the Cleveland Cavaliers
  10. ^ Ilgauskas finally has his record day as Cavs rout Suns
  11. ^ "Wizards Acquire Ilgauskas, Thornton and First-Round Pick In Three-Team Deal". NBA.com. February 17, 2010. Retrieved February 17, 2010. 
  12. ^ "Wizards reach buyout deal with Zydrunas Ilgauskas". The Washington Post. 
  13. ^ "Wizards buy out C Zydrunas Ilgauskas, waive him". February 25, 2010. 
  14. ^ Zydrunas Ilgauskas rejoins Cleveland Cavaliers for rest of season – ESPN. Sports.espn.go.com (2010-03-23). Retrieved on 2010-12-16.
  15. ^ "Cavaliers Sign Zydrunas Ilgauskas".  
  16. ^ Miami Heat complete Zydrunas Ilgauskas signing as roster fills – ESPN. Sports.espn.go.com (2010-07-17). Retrieved on 2010-12-16.
  17. ^ Tom Reed. "Former Cleveland Cavalier Ilgauskas to retire." The Plain Dealer. September 30, 2011. Retrieved on September 30, 2011.
  18. ^ FIBA Europe. FIBA Europe. Retrieved on 2010-12-16.
  19. ^ Cavs Deny Zydrunas Ilgauskas a Chance to Play in Olympics
  20. ^ Zydrunas Ilgauskas returns to Cavs, AP article on ESPN.com, January 18, 2012, Retrieved 2012-1-19.
  21. ^ Cavaliers Retire Zydrunas Ilgauskas #11 Jersey
  22. ^ Zydrunas Ilgauskas Career Highlights
  23. ^ Zydrunas Ilgauskas' Jersey Retired by the Cavaliers
  24. ^ Wallace, Michael (May 25, 2011). "Heat's Mike Miller thinking of daughter". Miami Heat Index.  
  25. ^ "Ž.Ilgauskas su žmona įsivaikino 2 berniukus iš Lietuvos". Delfi. August 27, 2009. Retrieved June 14, 2015. 
  26. ^ Karp, Hannah (February 10, 2010). "The NBA's Locker-Room Nerds". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved June 14, 2015. 
  27. ^ "NBA player Ilgauskas to be stripped of Lithuanian citizenship". Delfi. November 3, 2014. Retrieved December 24, 2014. 

External links

  • NBA.com Profile
  • ESPN.com Profile
  • Basketball-Reference.com Profile
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