Mar 6, 2014, 9:14 PM EDT
Zydrunas Ilgauskas will have his jersey retired in Cleveland this weekend, and his former teammate with the highest league-wide profile will be in attendance — despite the implications that many will attempt to ascribe to that gesture of personal support.
LeBron James will be there when the Cavaliers raise Big Z’s jersey to the rafters, in a ceremony that was specifically planned to take place during a break in the Heat’s schedule where James would be able to attend.
The Heat are officially on board with LeBron’s decision, although it will be a little bit odd for a couple of reasons.
Also Thursday, Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said the team has endorsed James’ planned trip to Cleveland Saturday night to attend the jersey retirement ceremony for former teammate Zydrunas Ilgauskas. …
The Cavs are expected to pursue James in free agency this summer if he elects to opt out of his contract, which adds intrigue to the invitation to the event. Ilgauskas, who has a role with the Cavs’ front office, asked James to attend last year and the Cavs purposely picked a date where he could easily travel to the game.
But Spoelstra said the Heat knew about the plan months ago and several members of the team’s staff will go as well, including assistant coach Ron Rothstein, who was an assistant in Cleveland when Ilgauskas was a rookie. Ilgauskas played for the Heat in his final season in the NBA, 2010-11.
James and Ilgauskas are close, but it’s unusual for players to make arrangements like this in the middle of the regular season.
When you add in LeBron’s potential free agency this summer, along with the fact that returning to his hometown Cavaliers at some point is viewed as an intriguing option by some, his attending an event like this could potentially raise some questions.
But it would be fairly shocking to see LeBron leave Miami for anyone, much less a small-market team he already played for and was unable to win a title with in seven seasons.
This is a show of support for a former teammate, and nothing else. The Heat realize that, which is why there is no issue with LeBron heading to Cleveland to take in a game in the middle of the season — despite all of the speculation that comes with it.
- Report: Hawks’ Mike Scott told police after arrest all drugs in car were his 3
- NBA lands in Africa trying to put down roots, which is all about youth programs, infrastructure 0
- Report: Kings expected to hire Nancy Lieberman as assistant coach 8
- Report: Hawks’ Mike Scott arrested for felony drug possession 16
- Gilbert Arenas on LeBron James: “James isn’t a #1 option..and yes I (didn’t stutter)” 47
- Report: Veteran point guard Andre Miller reaches one-year deal with Timberwolves 10
- Who is still out there: Top 10 free agents still on the market 14
- Donald Trump says he’s becoming a Mavericks fan after Mark Cuban’s comments 48