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Zydrunas Ilgauskas pens letter thanking Cleveland

Aug 1, 2010, 1:00 PM EST

Thumbnail image for ilgauskas_return.jpgCleveland fans aren’t dealing with the loss of one favorite son. They’re dealing with two. Zydrunas Ilgauskas, a Cavalier for 14 years, headed to Miami with LeBron James to try and win a championship with his friend. James’ betrayal was “king” in Cleveland. Get it? “King?” As in, LeBron James, “King James?” It’s a pun, you see.

Anyway, James’ move to Miami was a much bigger deal than Z, but Z was still a fan favorite. People likely have some run-off hate for him for deserting them, not to mention deserting them for James.

Lost in all this is the fact that Cleveland coach Mike Brown DNP-CD’d Ilgauskas in the game he had brought friends and family in to note him breaking the record for most games by a Cavalier. Then the Cavs traded Z to Washington in order to acquire Antawn Jamison, a necessary move, but one that had to affect how Z thought the Cavs valued him.

But Ilgauskas loved Cleveland and its fans, and as such, he bought space to publish a letter in Sunday’s edition of the Cleveland Plain-Dealer. It’s a thoughtful letter looking back on his career. However, saying he hopes Cleveland fans can “understand” his decision to go to Miami?

A bit much to hope for, probably.

  1. Andy - Aug 1, 2010 at 2:21 PM

    Are you kidding? As a Cavs fan, I hope Z wins a ring almost as much as I hope LeBron doesn’t win one. Zydrunas Ilgauskas handled everything with class, the way a professional should and I doubt anyone in Cleveland hates him the way they do LeBron. For one, the Cavaliers traded Z. The deal cost Z money, and for a loyal player for so many years to come back the way he did, the Cleveland fans will notice that. Also, the Cleveland fans know Z is at the tail end of his career and wants to win a championship. That’s understandable. And now he has the opportunity to do that. It’s not his departure that made it impossible for that to occur in Cleveland this year. Not only that, Z wasn’t the one who embraced the “hometown hero” image for seven years, then entered free agency with the “Show Me How Much You Love Me” Tour, then stabbed his hometown in the back. Z signed a contract which was announced how every free agency signing (except one) has ever gone.
    Good luck Z! And here’s hoping for a career for LeBron with no rings!

  2. Andy - Aug 1, 2010 at 2:23 PM

    Are you kidding? As a Cavs fan, I hope Z wins a ring almost as much as I hope LeBron doesn’t win one. Zydrunas Ilgauskas handled everything with class, the way a professional should and I doubt anyone in Cleveland hates him the way they do LeBron. For one, the Cavaliers traded Z. The deal cost Z money, and for a loyal player for so many years to come back the way he did, the Cleveland fans will notice that. Also, the Cleveland fans know Z is at the tail end of his career and wants to win a championship. That’s understandable. And now he has the opportunity to do that. It’s not his departure that made it impossible for that to occur in Cleveland this year. Not only that, Z wasn’t the one who embraced the “hometown hero” image for seven years, then entered free agency with the “Show Me How Much You Love Me” Tour, then stabbed his hometown in the back. Z signed a contract which was announced how every free agency signing (except one) has ever gone.
    Good luck Z! And here’s hoping for a career for LeBron with no rings!

  3. spincitysee - Aug 1, 2010 at 2:46 PM

    hey bud. found this drudgereport thing, but its not politics, just sports. its at http://sportscomplainer.com/nba . ill c ya later. bye

  4. Toro - Aug 1, 2010 at 3:18 PM

    i have been reading this blog since i first appeared as a hit tab on PFT.com; dude you are as biased a writer as i have ever seen – and profoundly unclever. with that being said i will continue to read because you have some of the best rumor/info.

  5. Red - Aug 1, 2010 at 3:20 PM

    Apparently Matt Moore doesn’t understand Cleveland fans. We love Z for his commitment and love of the town. We hate LeBron because he quit on the team and stabbed us in the back on national television. I guess its hard to tell the difference between the two for an “expert” like Moore.

  6. Devin - Aug 1, 2010 at 3:36 PM

    Anyone with any level of reading comprehension can figure out what city Matt Moore works out of.
    Grow up.
    You got your cute little Housewives of Miami trio, now move on. Are you really that threatened by Cavs fans telling the truth about Lebron James? He IS self-serving. He IS immature. He IS an egomaniac. Big deal. It’s ok to admit it. The problem we as Cavs fans have is the way in which he left Cleveland. Not a class act at all.
    Z gave everything to Cleveland and now in the final hour of his NBA career he deserves that last shot at a ring. Lebron bailed on a city that supported him through thick and thin, defending him unconditionally, even when everyone said he quit.
    So my hope is that:
    A) You are capable of maturing enough between now and your next Cavs-related blog to complete one without having to take unwarranted pot shots at a city who defended one of their own until he turned his back.
    B)You are able to identify class individuals and why citizens of Cleveland support Z and rebuff James.
    Later!

  7. Jim - Aug 1, 2010 at 4:23 PM

    The only answer is to send him back to Lithuania! DEPORT ZYDRUNAS!

  8. John R - Aug 1, 2010 at 5:15 PM

    krolik should have written on this topic. all of cleveland understands Z’s decision. he should have his number retired next time he comes into town. also, the next d-league call up we put on the floor should wear #23.

  9. coach g - Aug 1, 2010 at 8:11 PM

    There is no reason whatsoever for Cavs fans to have any problem with Z. I find myself in the weird position of wishing Z could go ahead and win a championship and at the same time wishing LeBron that he will have a tiny fraction of the success he had in Cleveland with his smelly new deal.
    Coach Mike Brown was clueless as to how to use a deep team. Shaq told him the best center was him and Z put together. Z is still a fabulous player and should have been on the floor for big minutes with Anderson and Cleveland would have gone much deeper than with the combination that had never played together Shaq and Jamison out there.
    LeBron is RUINING the whole league, while Z should be respected whatever he does.

  10. Cordae - Aug 1, 2010 at 8:39 PM

    Once again, this man, like James, owes Cleveland nothing. Hell he has more reason to leave than LeBron does. They “thought” they seen a better deal in having antwan jamison and shipped Z’s ass off as if he weren’t there for over the past decade. It’s all business. Just like they made the business decision to ship him out, he made the business decision to go elsewhere and get a ring. I sure wish you’d stop trying to make everything personal……..Matt. People are gonna love him reguardless..

  11. Cordae - Aug 1, 2010 at 8:49 PM

    once again, this man, like james, owes the city of cleveland nothing. Hell he has more of a reason to leave than James does. They thought they seen a better opportunity to have Jamison (God, I still dont understand that move) than Z. They shipped Z’s ass out as if he hadn’t played there over the past decade, respectively. Its all business. Just like they made The business move to dump him, he made the business move to go elsewhere and get a ring. Stop making things so personal Matt. Kind of Hypocritical of Cleveland fans to think of Lebron as a “traitor” after dashing on their ass after seven years when they praise Dan Gilbert after he was willing to let go of a still decent center in a horrible trade, who was there for fourteen. Damn shame…

  12. Joe - Aug 1, 2010 at 9:22 PM

    As a Cavs fan, i have nothing but love and respect for Z. Class act in every way possible. While I wish he had gone to a different team, i can’t blame him. Z will always be loved here in Cleveland.
    When the Heat come to Cleveland, it’ll be amazing to see the difference in crowd reaction to Z as compared to Quitness.

  13. arlisa williams - Aug 2, 2010 at 10:12 AM

    grow up andy,he has a right to play for who he please i am talking about lebron james.You people think this young man owes you something,well he paid his debt in full for seven yrs. You wish z would get a ring and lebron dont well i have some bad news for you he will get a ring with miami whose going to stop those three nba players from scoring also whose going to stop them defensively.Wake up they have a dynasty and you people is angry becuase Pat Riley came up with a brillant ideal and made it work. stop haaaaaaaating.

  14. huh? - Aug 2, 2010 at 10:46 AM

    Cleveland still loves Z. From where are you getting this pulse of the city?
    This article does nothing but give some meathead commenters the chance to spout off about things they know nothing about.

  15. Alex - Aug 2, 2010 at 12:28 PM

    Arlisa you must be pretty dense to not understand why Cleveland fans respect and appreciate Z while loathing LeCon James. Let me spell it out for you then, using proper grammar and spelling: Its not the fact that James left Cleveland, but its the way he left that bothers Cleveland fans as well as just about every other sports fan outside of Miami. He acted like everyone had a fair chance at persuading him during this free-agency spectacle, while all along he knew he wanted to play with his buddies Wade and Bosh. He orchestrated this pathetic ‘wooing’ of LeBron because he missed out on the recruiting process out of high school and wanted team owners and management to stroke his ego for a few weeks. Then, he went on tv to announce that he was taking the easy path to victory by teaming up with a couple other ‘stars’ who can’t win a damn thing through their own hard work and dedication (Wade couldn’t do it without Shaq). He didn’t even thank the fans or the organization and had someone else call the team for him to say he was leaving.
    Meanwhile Z respectfully and quietly accepted a free-agency offer, no doubt convinced by LeBron that he would win a quick ring by joining the Heat, and thanked Cleveland for their years of support. He was with the team at one of their lowest points, went through many surgeries, and never quit. He never ran off when times got tough, and that’s why we still love him. You on the other hand, seem to be blinded by LeBron’s act. He isn’t humble, he doesn’t care about his ‘fans’, he just wants money and attention.

  16. ClevelandSucks - Aug 2, 2010 at 1:03 PM

    well after the way the city of cleveland acted, i’m completely disgusted with them. the fans are freaking HORRIBLE. i hope tons of clevelanders read this post. i DID want lebron to stay in cleveland deep down.
    but then after the way the entire city of cleveland turned on him and burned his jersey with the most disrespectful, tasteless, evil mannor, i was completely mortified and so glad lebron got the %$*& out of there!
    it made me realize that if some people can worship the ground he stood on like he was thier own personal savior the way they did and then TURN on him on a the drop of dime like that? uhhh i’m here to say that they were NEVER fans of lebron.
    lebron had EVERY right to exercise his right to get the #$% out of cleveland the way he did. and honestly, i’m getting sick of hearing cleveland cry about it. shut your mouths and go build your team thats gonna “win a championship before lebron wins one” cause you’re gonna need ALL the help you can get. i predict the cavs in last place right next to the nets in the east conf this coming seaon.
    oh and one more thing… you think lebron has an ego? the owner of the cavs has a much bigger ego. i hope he never wins a championship! thats right, dan gilbert… i hope you read this. YOU’RE the curse thats holding the cavs back!

  17. Your City's a Sucker - Aug 2, 2010 at 1:57 PM

    Your right about one thing fans of the Cavs are not fans of Lebron. We are fans of the Cavs. Just like Miami’s 25 fans were not fans of Lebron till he came to Miami. The problem with James is the way he handled it and tools like you dont seem to understand that. Atleast Z had a little class in doing this. And Gilbert is the reason for this so called curse. Its been here longer then him. Get out your moms basement and see the world.

  18. ClevelandSucks - Aug 2, 2010 at 2:45 PM

    waaaah waaaahhh..do you need a pacifier and your blankee? lets keep crying about “how lebron handled it”. i agree, he should’ve just jumped on the band wagon and “tweeted” his “decision” instead of having an hour long special but are you seriously gonna keep talking about it? just get over it! thats all i’m saying. i just wanted to let the whole state of ohio know how much they suck, and how much more they’ll suck without lebron. ;) suckas!

  19. CavsFan - Aug 2, 2010 at 4:38 PM

    Your so cute there mr.Clevelandsucks i like the name how long did it take? Any who for you to come in here and say get over it seems to me you started it.So how about you get over it? And big Z love him hope for the best!

  20. TearyourMCLlebrat - Aug 2, 2010 at 5:07 PM

    Very classy for Z, but can he even walk anymore? Let alone jump, he can’t hit a shot unless wide open, can’t defend the younger faster
    players anymore, Miami can have him. He would be an unnecessary over the hill bench warmer in Cleveland. You people not from Cleveland who continue to harass us “real” people can go to hell. The city is an incredible example of pride and hard work. We have every right to be pissed at Lebrat, he left in a completely unprofessional way, and will never be forgiven for it. Truly, one injury and Miami’s hopes for rings are gone. The roster is filled with useless old farts, who can barley run the floor anymore. Good luck Z, but Lebrat can go to hell. Wade is a drama queen, and Bosh is just as unprofessional. They deserve to be in a state where all the old people go to retire and die.

  21. ClevelandSucks - Aug 2, 2010 at 5:28 PM

    i sense jealousy. i doubt you would be saying any of that had wade and bosh came and joined lebron in cleveland. thats the funny thing. i can’t wait for miami to obliterate cleveland next season. heck, i might even purchase league pass just so i can watch the horror that takes place when miami blows out cleveland by 30+ points all season long. ciao.

  22. ClevelandSucks - Aug 3, 2010 at 6:53 AM

    you don’t have to feel bad for me. my team has won the championship back to back and is gonna 3 peat next year. funny how you say lebron and dwade won’t work on court. you must not watch either of them play. they’re the most unselfish superstars on the court. cleveland isn’t gonna do a thing in the future. they’ll be ringLESS all franchise long. btw, miami has a much more of a “full” team now. the cavs were a joke when lebron was there. the rest of the time had big heads going into the playoffs just because they had the best record. the best record in the nba doesn’t mean a THING in the playoffs until you get to the finals. they got beat by the celtics whose main players are in their friggin mid 30s! lebron didn’t have a good supporting cast. and face it, lebron put cleveland on the nba map. the past 7 years, people would still be saying “cleveland who?” had lebron not have done what he did for cleveland the past 7 years.

  23. Don Aldo - Aug 3, 2010 at 9:42 AM

    close minded!

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