Hawks stand pat at trade deadline, now look to Ilgauskas

'Big Z' seeking buyout from Wizards. (NBA.com)

'Big Z' seeking buyout from Wizards. (NBA.com)

Phoenix– The Hawks didn’t make any trades at today’s deadline, no surprise since GM Rick Sund had said all along he wouldn’t break up the team’s core with a deal.

“We like our core guys,” Sund said today. “I think we are positioned pretty well. We will learn some more (about the team) going forward in the last month-and-a-half and the playoffs.”

The Hawks also were unable to find any trade proposals that made sense. However, sources said the Hawks have reversed their stance on keeping their roster at the league minimum of 13 and will consider signing veterans who are bought out of their contracts by the end of this month.

The Hawks are expected to be among the suitors for veteran center Zydrunas Ilgauskas if he receives a buyout from the Wizards, sources said today. Ilgauskas was traded from Cleveland to Washington on Tuesday in a three-team deal but he’s seeking a buyout of the prorated portion of his $11.5 million expiring contract. The Wizards are cutting salary as they look to rebuild and Ilgauskas’ agent, Herb Rudoy, said his client wants to play for a contender.

Among the Hawks’ Eastern Conference rivals, only Cleveland made a major trade. The Cavaliers got forward Antawn Jamison from Washington as part of the three-team trade involving Ilgauskas.

Otherwise, the trade deadline passed relatively quietly in the East.

The Magic stood pat. The Celtics reportedly were waiting on league approval to complete a trade with the Knicks for reserve guard Nate Robinson. The Bobcats could be tougher first-round opponents for one of the top East teams after they acquired Tyrus Thomas from Chicago and Theo Ratliff from San Antonio.

The Hawks, who continue a four-game road trip Friday night at Phoenix, are 34-18 and trail Orlando by 1.5 games in the Southeast Division. The Celtics were a half game behind the Hawks before playing at the Lakers late Thursday.

“Until the end of the season I don’t look at the win column, I look at the loss column,” Sund said. “Here the trade deadline has passed and, after Cleveland, you have three teams (Magic, Hawks and Celtics) with 18 losses jockeying for position.

“I think we are pointed in the right direction. As long as we stay healthy, and that’s an important key, we can compete for these playoff spots going down the stretch.”

Ilgauskas could help the Hawks in the playoffs. Rudoy said today he hadn’t spoken to the Wizards yet about a buyout. Ilgauskas, 34, is taking a few days to think about his future, and Rudoy said the Hawks would fit Ilgauskas’ criteria for a new team if he doesn’t re-sign with the Cavs.

“If he decides to leave Cleveland, once he gets the buyout–and we hope we will have several options–he will only go to a team that can win a championship, period,” Rudoy said. “He will not be on a team that has no chance. He wants to play for one of the top teams, and Atlanta certainly is one of those teams.”

Rudoy said “a lot of teams are very interested in” Ilgauskas but declined to name them. In addition to the Cavs and Hawks, the Dallas Mavericks and Denver Nuggets are also reported to be interested in Ilgauskas.

Under league rules the Cavaliers would have to wait 30 days after Ilgauskas is waived to re-sign him, while another team could sign him immediately. Ilgauskas would have to be waived by March 1 to be eligible for a playoff roster.

Sund, citing league tampering rules, declined to comment on Ilgauskas.

Ilgauskas, at 7 feet 3 and 260 pounds, would satisfy the Hawks’ desire for a beefy center in the post to deal with Eastern Conference rivals Orlando (Dwight Howard) and Cleveland (Shaquille O’Neal). Ilgauskas could backup Al Horford at center and the two also could play together in a lineup with Horford at power forward.

The Hawks’ other options at center are Zaza Pachulia, Jason Collins and Randolph Morris.

Ilgauskas, a 12-year NBA veteran from Lithuania, was averaging career lows of 20.5 minutes, 7.5 points, and 5.3 rebounds for the Cavs. He once was an offensive threat in the post but has become more of a jumpshooter late in his career. Ilgauskas has slipped to 38 percent shooting on jumpers this season, according to 82games.com.

MC

271 comments Add your comment

Melvin

February 18th, 2010
3:08 pm

Bring on Big Z and we could drop Cheeseburger Collins. However, the Hawks have no chance at Big Z and they know it, so why not make that statement.

Melvin

February 18th, 2010
3:10 pm

Being that the Rockets acquire Hill from the Knicks, maybe we can trade ZaZa for Yao Ming. Take that Astro, a bigger, younger injury all-star to help ticket sales…

Section 303

February 18th, 2010
3:11 pm

I would love it if Big Z was brought on. I am willing to pay higher season ticket prices to pay for him.

Melvin

February 18th, 2010
3:11 pm

Will yall stop fooling around on the other blog and join me on the new one… what? you can’t keep up with the multiple blogs?????

Paul

February 18th, 2010
3:13 pm

Even if we got this guy, Woodson would only use him for about 5mins a game.

Grandad

February 18th, 2010
3:14 pm

Perfect compliment to Josh and Al on offense: Big Z stands outside and can knock down the ‘3′. Al & Josh can still play in the middle where their talent best suits them. Now, can we make it happen?

Melvin

February 18th, 2010
3:15 pm

Ain’t no way the Big Z puppet will leave Cleveland if he was bought out in DC.

JerryWest

February 18th, 2010
3:15 pm

Ilgauskus fits like a glove to this front court. With the Cavs he is the 5th wheel.

tnt

February 18th, 2010
3:19 pm

Enter your comments here

tnt

February 18th, 2010
3:20 pm

yo if we get him we’ll have to big Z’s as backup C/PF, sick!!!

Ree Roe

February 18th, 2010
3:20 pm

Make this happen Sund. Joe Smith, Big Z, Al, ZaZa & Jason Collins would be an impressive frontline vs. anybody

-REEpeal it for Roe!!!!

tnt

February 18th, 2010
3:20 pm

Matt the Brave

February 18th, 2010
3:25 pm

Would be nice, but he’s going back to Cleveland. Only way that we get him is by overpaying him.

[...] According to our Michael Cunningham, the Washington Wizards, who acquired Ilgauskas from Cleveland Wednesday as part of the six-player, three-team trade with the Los Angeles Clippers, are likely to buy out the remainder of the 7-foot-3 center’s contract. That would allow Ilgauskas to sign as a free agent with any team, and at least four teams appear to be in the mix: Cleveland (which wants him back and would have to be considered the favorite), the Hawks, Dallas and Denver. [...]

dstdeelite

February 18th, 2010
3:29 pm

Wishful thinking! Why in the world would he come here? All he’s ever known is Cleveland. On paper, the Cavs chances of winning a title have dramatically increased with yesterday’s trade. Not to mention they still have this dude on the roster named LBJ. Ugh! I hate these school yard moves. First we get Mario West to fill a roster space and now we’re talking of adding Big Z. The last thing we need is someone slowing us down even further. Yeah we need size but jeez is this the answer?

O'Brien

February 18th, 2010
3:30 pm

Melvin,

I agree. I dont think Big Z is going anywhere except Cleveland. He’s been there forever, his family is there, and he knows they have a better chance to win a championship than the Hawks do.

However, if Sund is open to adding Big Z as our 14th player, then I hope he will be open to adding another veteran that might get bought out later on.

Cleveland will be tough to beat in the East though. And that will make it all the more fun if LeBron doesnt win a championship (or at the very least, get to the NBA finals) this year

Boston

February 18th, 2010
3:30 pm

@ Matt the Brave

Which we can. The Hawks have most of their MLE. Teams like Cleveland, Dallas and Denver don’t.

Mountain Man

February 18th, 2010
3:34 pm

How do ye pernounce thet feller’s name anyhow?

Mountain Man

February 18th, 2010
3:37 pm

Man, this is confusin’. So Washington trades fer tha feller. Then, they pay him a bunch of money to go back and play fer Clevelan’? Thet don’t make no sense.

A.S.

February 18th, 2010
3:37 pm

This is a big IF. The Hawks should have just made a deal prior to the deadline for a solid backup forward.

T.C

February 18th, 2010
3:37 pm

If we get big Z,then i would say the hawks can make it to the eastern conference finals.Thats if he’s used right because right now the way it stands,the magics,celtics with lil robinson added(he give the hawks fits everytime they play him),and definately not cleveland.Now lets see who miami gets.

[...] According to our Michael Cunningham, the Washington Wizards, who acquired Ilgauskas from Cleveland Wednesday as part of the six-player, three-team trade with the Los Angeles Clippers, are likely to buy out the remainder of the 7-foot-3 center’s contract. That would allow Ilgauskas to sign as a free agent with any team, and at least four teams appear to be in the mix: Cleveland (which wants him back and would have to be considered the favorite), the Hawks, Dallas and Denver. [...]

Stat Man

February 18th, 2010
3:42 pm

Seems like there should be a rule that a player traded away from a team can resign immediately with the team that just traded him.

That type of scenario could be awfully dangerous when used in devious ways (i.e. – before the trade, it’s already worked out that the player is being bought out & has already agreed to free agent terms with the previous team).

Oh well, with that numb nuts commissioner Stern in control, forget any common sense being applied.

Grandad

February 18th, 2010
3:47 pm

Michael:
What do ‘you’ think our chances are to acquire Z.I. and would Zaza be of any assistance in recruiting a fellow Eastern European?

GeeMack

February 18th, 2010
3:49 pm

Big Z will make no difference in how the Hawks fair against Cle or Orl. Wait….didn’t Big Z play last year when Orlando dusted the Cavs in the ECF? Dwight Howard is the same center that dusted Big Z, Verijo, & Joe Smith, and were taking about having 2/3rds of that combo in the Atl with out LBJ.

Oh yeah that really gives us a chance to beat Cle. & Orl!

The Hawks need one thing to be able to beat those 2 teams….play with some passion.

Wink

February 18th, 2010
3:49 pm

Z is going back to Cleveland. Hawks management knows this, just going thru the motions, to appease the masses. Z as a Hawks would only provide us another 3 point shooter, so he would not be in the paint to rebound. The is just about ready to retire & Cleveland is home and gives him the best chance to win a championship.

Gilley

February 18th, 2010
3:51 pm

The chances of us getting Z is very slim as I think he will return to Cleveland. But I hope he is mad about them trading him and comes to the Atl. I would love it.

Grandad

February 18th, 2010
3:53 pm

Wink:

Where an offensive player lines up has nothing to do with ‘defensive’ rebounding.

The Truth

February 18th, 2010
3:55 pm

Big Z coming to ATL? Sund is playing us like a horn

The Truth

February 18th, 2010
3:59 pm

BigTimeTECHFan

February 18th, 2010
4:00 pm

Nope – don’t worry about big man, run 3 guards JJ, Bibby, Crawford with Smith and Al Hortford. This will cause matchup problems for everyone in the east now. Also teams can’t focus on JJ with Crawford in lineup.

Keep team the same, Once they pull there big man Al and Josh will eat them up. M. Williams less time and give JT-0 some playing time.

Freak them out, play fast. Hit J Smith on breaks

Mac-Town'z Finest 478

February 18th, 2010
4:05 pm

It looks like our boys Flip Murray and Acie Law are playing for the Bulls now in exchange for Tyrus Thomas to the Bobcats. I thought Flip was a key part of the Bobcats “success”…instant offense off the bench on a team that struggles to score…..
oh well..interesting

GeeMack

February 18th, 2010
4:08 pm

Grandad

You already know the answer to the question of Big Z’s chances of joining the Hawks.

Astro Joe

February 18th, 2010
4:11 pm

Big Z loses his puppet commercial if he doesn;t return to Cavs. But good to know that Sund may in fact look to add a vet.

Astro Joe

February 18th, 2010
4:12 pm

Find Ian Thomsen (si.com columnist) interview link below (sorry for earlier problem).

http://www.790thezone.com/instantreplay/Episodes.aspx?PID=1348

Jody

February 18th, 2010
4:14 pm

Although I doubt it happens, adding a center like Big Z would be the kind of move that would make the very formidable against elite teams because, with Z’s shooting ability, it allows Atl to play Horford and Smith together in a lineup where they not only exploit there athletic ability, but also would be able to exploit there size in the post in the halfcourt set. Post scoring is essential to playoff success and with a guy like Z on the floor with Al and Josh, teams would have to double them on get killed inside where it really hurts.

RomeDawg

February 18th, 2010
4:15 pm

Seems like this could be the Spirit’s chance to show they WANT to win!

Benjamin

February 18th, 2010
4:16 pm

Z’s on his last legs. I wouldn’t want him.

Melvin

February 18th, 2010
4:16 pm

Astro,

The Hawks said they would make an exception for Big Z to be added. Not that they are willing/looking to add another player.

ryan

February 18th, 2010
4:18 pm

What i think is going to happen is the hawks are going to wait until the summer time to make moves. I think Bibby is gone also Marvin Williams is to we resign Joe Johnson and go after Chris Bosh !

Michael Cunningham

February 18th, 2010
4:21 pm

@ o’brien: yep, Cavs clear faves for Z but as you say significance here is Hawks at least willing to consider adding 14th player.

for everyone thinking this is a PR move, i can tell you Hawks’ interest in Z is real (if not realistic).

Grandad

February 18th, 2010
4:32 pm

Michael/Anyone ???

Someone mentioned on another blog [JS] that Cleve. has to wait 30 days to re-sign ‘z’, thus making him ineligible for play-offs, is that true?

Grandad

February 18th, 2010
4:35 pm

P.S. – Eligible players must be signed before Mar. 1st evidently.

blord

February 18th, 2010
4:37 pm

I would love to see him in the ATL but think he shoots his next jumper in a Cavs uniform.

Cunningham Check Your Facts

February 18th, 2010
4:38 pm

0% chance Ilgauskas ends up in ATL. Actually -0%. He is re-signing in CLE. He is a good friend of Cavs GM Danny Ferry. Ferry would not trade him with out knowing that Z would be coming back. Plus he has no reason to leave. This has been very carefully orchestrated for months. There is no “mix” of teams. These teams might be delusional, like you, but I assure you its not happening.

Grandad do the math. Playoffs don’t start until the end of April. We are in February. 30 days from now is only Mid-March. There will be at least a dozen or so games left when Z returns.

O'Brien

February 18th, 2010
4:38 pm

This has been a crazy trade deadline. Was it Woody or Sund who said they didnt think there would be much acticity this trade deadline?

Knicks could have $30 mil salary cap space this summer. Wow. Cap experts, will they have enough cap space to afford 2 max deals (like LeBron and Wade)? Or will they have to settle for LeBron and JJ?

Bulls will have room to come after JJ too. ASG is going to have to step their game up this offseason, because JJ will have all the power in negotiations (unlike Josh, Childress, or Marvin who were all restricted).

O'Brien

February 18th, 2010
4:39 pm

* would be much ‘actiVity’

Astro Joe

February 18th, 2010
4:40 pm

GeeMack, good point, Z wasn’t exactly successful against Orlando last year in the playoffs. I still think someone with a Perkins-type of stocky build is better suited against Howard than a tall, slender player. I vote for Etan Thomas if he is bought out (and healthy). Or Tony Battie, who practiced with Howard for a few years in Orlando.

tyger

February 18th, 2010
4:44 pm

Hawks shooting blanks…

While everyone else improves their team, the Hawks leave their Viagra at home. They aren’t going to do anything, they cant do anything, they’re impotent! Moreover, ATL isnt the type of team where a guy is going to fall to them after a buyout. They still want to get paid, so to think Z or Gooden is going to come to ATL for minimum wage is a wet dream.

Astro Joe

February 18th, 2010
4:45 pm

Melvin, then I wonder if part of their interest is to keep Z away from the Cavs. Kind of like the Red Sox and Yankees often sign someone just to keep that player off the other team’s roster. While Z is an upgrade as a pick and pop guy over Zaza, we seem to be missing other skill sets that can be addressed with others. If Sund says “Z or bust”, I have to question the bust part.