Looks like Zydrunas Ilgauskas is very close than to securing his buyout from the Washington Wizards clearing the way for him to sign with another team or wait the 30 days and resign with the Cleveland Cavaliers.
All indications coming out of Atlanta are is that the team is very interested and Ilgauskas’ agent says the Hawks will be considered once a buy out occurs. Ilgauskas would make sense for the Hawks. He is another big, a legit seven footer with a great shooting touch. He has lost a ton of mobility but he would bring in veteran presence that has a lot of playoff experience. If nothing else Ilgauskas signing with the Hawks or with a western conference team wouldn’t strengthen the Cavaliers yet again.
Now the question is are the Hawks really interested or is this report all just posturing for the media and the fans? If the Hawks are only going to offer something like the vet minimum to Ilgauskas then they are wasting time and in my opinion are not seriously interested. Sure it is important for Ilguaskas agent to inform everyone that his client will listen to offers because at the end of the day that will get him more money from whoever he signs with. Ilgauskas has spent his whole career in Cleveland, they have a good chance to win a championship, therefore any offer that is made is really going to have to wow him to get him to consider.
All season long the Hawks have carried the league minimum 13 players on the roster due to finances. They sat silently through the trade deadline for a myriad of reasons but the bottom line is they haven’t improved themselves since training camp. Hawkst8talk had a great discussion about the trade deadline and whether the Hawks were committed to trying to win a championship or if they were satisfied with just going to the playoffs. While he and I didn’t necessarily agree with everything that was said in regards to making a trade at the deadline the fact remains that there is a question on the part of ownership as to whether or not they will do what it takes to win a championship. Making a legit offer to Ilgauskas would go a long way in my mind. It would only be for the end of the season and I think it would send a message that we are serious about getting out of the second round of the playoffs.
Still the odds are against Ilgauskas going anywhere other than Cleveland. I am not positive that even a higher monetary offer would snare him. I believe there was probably a hand shake deal in place before the trade was ever made. However, this is a great opportunity for Hawks ownership to send a message that they will do what it takes to win. Successful or not it will send a message to our current players and prospective free agents around the league.
*Update Michael Cunningham of the AJC posted this article today and says that Ilgauskas will take the weekend to think over the Hawks offer.