Seeing familiar faces back on the team is nice and fun, but it’s hard to believe that the Cleveland Cavaliers are going to waste a roster spot on Zydrunas Ilgauskas, now a 39 year-old retired center who hasn’t played NBA basketball in over three years.
Ilgauskas played for the Cavaliers from 1996 to 2010. In his prime, he was an All-Star center, making the exhibition game twice. He averaged 13 points and 7.3 rebounds in his career, which ended after the 2010-2011 season, when he joined LeBron James to try and win a title with the Miami Heat. After that season, Ilgauskas retired, later joining the Cavs’ front office in a talent-evaluation role.
There’s been a rumor spreading around about the Cavaliers not just bringing back LeBron James, but going ultra-retro and adding Ilgauskas to the roster. First, this rumor has been stopped by Ilgauskas’ agent, Herb Rudoy, saying that the speculation is completely false. Then, without even listening to anyone, you start thinking about Ilgauskas as a player and the current Cavs’ situation, and it even makes less sense.
The Cavaliers currently have 17 players on their roster. If Ray Allen signs with them, it becomes 18, and quite messy. The Cavs need to trim down their roster size, which is possible considering they have three or four players with non-guaranteed contract and not actual future on the team. But the Cavaliers also want a capable backup center, considering Varejao has been injured in every season since 2009-2010, usually missing a big bunch of games.
There’s also Ilgauskas himself. He played in the NBA over three years ago for the last time, averaging five points per game. Even if he has kept in shape and will clear a supposed medical it’s hard to believe he’s goon enough, and in good enough shape, to be someone worthy of a roster spot on a championship team. As a leader, mentor, and suit type of player (Like Juwan Howard)? Sure. But as an active player? Probably not.
The Cavaliers have some holes on their bench before they can feel confident about the title run they’re going to give. However, bringing back someone who’ll be turning 40 next June doesn’t sound like the right move.