Thursday, February 25th, 2010 at 9:00 am  |  40 responses

Denver Nuggets Enter Big Z ‘Derby’

by Marcel Mutoni@marcel_mutoni

To the surprise of precisely no one on Planet Earth, Zydrunas Ilgauskas and the Washington Wizards went their separate ways late last night. Big Z, of course, never once suited up for Washington, something he (and they) never intended to happen.

Though everyone understands what’s going on (namely, that Ilgauskas will land back in Cleveland by late March) — including the League front office — teams will continue to go after Big Z, and his camp will continue to make it seem as though there’s the possibility he won’t be wearing a Cavs jersey again this season.

The Denver Nuggets have become the latest team to express interest in the big man’s services.

The Denver Post reports:

“There hasn’t been a day go by that I haven’t heard from Mark (Warkentien, the Nuggets’ vice president of basketball operations),” Herb Rudoy, Ilgauskas’ agent, said Wednesday. “He had a great relationship with ‘Z’ (back in Cleveland). Mark has been very aggressive to convince me to convince ‘Z.’”

Ilgauskas is currently at his home in New York City, waiting to hear what happens next. He was traded by Cleveland near the trade deadline to the Wizards. And the plan is for the former all-star center to get bought out of his contract so he can sign with a contender. “He wants to win a championship,” Rudoy said.

Though Cleveland remains the heavy favorite to re-acquire the coveted big man, Denver joins Atlanta, Utah and Dallas among the teams who would like Zydrunas Ilgauskas to spurn the Cavs.

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  • http://Slamadamonth.com Mvp23100

    Come on home z get this ring big homie

  • http://www.inbox.lv smiles

    it clear zydrunas is comin back and quietly contributes some 10-15mins a game
    cavs gets jamison and a rested z – move of the trade deadline

  • CSP8

    I don’t think he’ll fit good in any other system.

  • lucas

    Why would Utah want him. We already have a center that hangs on the perimeter and shoots 3s

  • http://www.slamonline.com/online/nba/2010/02/tracy-mcgrady-hurt-yes-already-again/ L

    Cavs Big Z. They never gave up on you. Even when you missed entire seasons cause of your foot. Go back to the Cavs.

  • bitmatt

    Love how for years Z was nothing but a big, slow, soft joke for NBA teams outside of Cleveland. Now he’s a free agent & the new hotness. Who’s laughing now? Danny Ferry, that’s who. But in secret, so it’s more of an internal chuckle.

  • tom

    he´s a better fit with the cavs i think but he´ll probably has better chances to win a chip in denver..

  • Jack Knife

    He deserves a championship before LeBron, so I hope he goes to Denver.

  • Ree Roe

    Come to ATL Z. We have an Eastern European on the squad (ZaZa Pachulia) & remember how Cleveland did you when you set the franchise mark for games played. They’ll find a way to screw you over again homie. Come to the A, win a title here.


    Since Z’s wife and children are in his home in Ohio, I wonder why Z would go to an imaginary home in NY. Also, why would he go anywhere but the Cavs since only the Cavs or Lakers can win a ring this year.

  • rainman10

    Only the Cavs or Lakers can win a ring this year?

  • Ree Roe

    lol @ only the Cavs & Lakers can win a title this yr. I thought yall knew basketball. Cavs, Magic, Celtics & Hawks can all win the East. LA, Denver & Dallas can all win the West

  • Sporting-Lisbon-Blazers

    Z: “wazzup Melo? where zat funny pre-game sh1t?”

  • The D Train

    it’ll be hilarious if Z “comes back home for a chip”, only to have O-Town knock the boots off of The Mistake by the Lake again.

  • Stillballin

    Big z wat up!!! Go back to Cleveland..don’t waste the 3 weeks early of going to training camp,learning All does hand shakes go to waste..haha!!

  • LA Huey

    Big Z got a home in NYC? Precursor to LBJ->NYC for sure!

  • LCD Screen Cleaner

    why did they let him go??? they could really have used him after trading haywood. my gosh, what a surprising move on their part. astonishing. @_@

  • Jose

    Z will go back to Cleveland. I have no idea why he would contmeplate going anywhere else. He knows der at der peak right now in terms of talent and stuff. why leave that. plus i cant see him jumping ship from whre he has played his whole career…And most importantly…He doesnt want that Big Z/LBJ commercial pulled from TV.haha but he’ll go back

  • http://www.realcavsfans.com Anton

    When’s the last time Z had this much non-injury rest? Dude’s gonna do a 360 from the free throw line when he comes back.

  • memyselfand9

    the slam homepage is looking funny right now with big z and nowitzki both with their hands up lol.

  • Jeff

    You Cleveland fans crack me up. Even with Jamison and Z, your team would be a 4th or 5th seed at best in the West; maybe even worse. Your starting five is impressive, but your bench is clearly overrated. You may very well come out of the pathetic Eastern Conference, which has had little team parity in at least a decade, but I give you a 0% chance of beating the Lakers in a seven-game series.
    And while your chances are slightly better, I’d bet money you couldn’t beat Denver or Utah in a seven-game series either. If Z was smart, which he probably isn’t, he would sign with Denver or Utah and give them the edge to possibly top the Lakers. Z’s style of basketball easily fits into Utah’s system of half-court basketball.

  • Carl

    Hey Jeff, The Cavs record vs Western conf. teams is 20-6 right now, 24-8 vs the East, so the Cavs would actually be the #1 seed in either conference you dummy.

  • tavoris

    LA Huey-Z’s kept his home in NYC since he was drafted.

  • LA Huey

    i’m joking, tavoris

  • LA Huey

    Jeff, if you’re talking about weak benches, you better get Utah and Denver out of the conversation.

  • neaorin

    This is the part where somebody reminds Jeff that the Cavs are currently 20-6 against the West, and they were 26-4 last year, a better record percentage-wise than any Western team.

  • neaorin

    I guess Carl already took care of that part. Note to self: don’t post while drunk.

  • lucas



  • Donn

    I wish the Lakers sign him…then never play him!

  • Jeff

    Actually Carl, you are the dummy. The problem with the 20-6 against the West, is that most of those wins were in Cleveland. Only 8 of those wins were on the road, plus Cleveland lost twice to Denver and once to Utah. By some miracle, Cleveland beat the Lakers twice, but one of those games the Lakers should have won. And if LA Huey thinks that Cleveland has a deeper bench than Utah, than he doesn’t watch much basketball. Look, Cleveland is a good team, but there is a big difference in playing Western Conference teams twice a year, then having to play them 3-4 times a year.

  • http://www.realcavsfans.com Anton

    ^^”By some miracle, Cleveland beat the Lakers twice”

  • Teddy-the-Bear

    Jeff has a point, the East obviously IS easier than the West.
    However, Cleveland IS legit right now. Antawn Jamison and Leon Powe make them perhaps the deepest team in the NBA… I agree they sucked before trade line but now? They’re good, Jeff, they’re good.

  • http://www.hibachi20.blogspot.com Hursty

    Jeff, you had me until you said the Cleveland bench wasn’t as deep as Utah’s. Really? C’mon.

  • Jeff

    Hursty, I think their benches are similar in depth. I just think Cleveland’s bench gets more credit than they deserve, hence the overrated comment. And I don’t feel their bench is necessarily better than the Jazz’s. I guess will call it square. I think the fact that Millsap could start for almost any team in this league, and would be an all-star candidate if he wasn’t stuck behind Boozer fighting for minutes, speaks loudly for the Jazz’s depth. Not to mention their rookie Matthews has played well beyond expectations, well enough to give the Jazz confidence they could part with their best defender, Ronnie Brewer. Not to rub salt in your wounds, and I do realize this was pre-trade, but Utah would have beaten the Cavaliers in Cleveland if Deron Williams had actually played.

  • Jeff

    I’m not a Cleveland hater. This Boston/Cleveland game has been fun to watch. Lebron James is a stud, no doubt about it. It is too bad he’d rather go lose in New York, then continue helping Cleveland grow as a team. Enjoy the winning while you can Cleveland.

  • Teddy-the-Bear

    Its true, Millsap is better than anybody the Cavs have on their bench (assuming Jamison starts).

  • Teddy-the-Bear

    Actually, Millsap is better than anybody on the Cavs period besides LeBron and Jamison.

  • neaorin

    I always thought Ronnie Brewer’s lack of range was dragging the Jazz down, and you can just go back to the last Lakers series to see why. The Lakers didn’t even bother to guard him on a lot of plays and just overloaded on Deron. And if we’re talking about the playoffs I wouldn’t count on rookies too much for depth. The last part sounds like sour grapes, I could just as easily claim a rout for Cleveland if Shaq and Delonte had played. Besides, with Deron on the floor Eric Maynor doesn’t go crazy that game. Well done getting rid of him btw.

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    Utah’s depth is their main issue….they are at most 7 deep realistically.

  • http://slamonline.com donone23

    big Z! come to Denver!!! itll make it easier on nene and birdman, come
    on now boyyyyyy! MELO 2010 Finals MVP!(=