For Pat Riley and the Miami Heat, the first priority of the summer was the big moves, and with headline names like LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh, Mike Miler and Udonis Haslem they got it done.
It’s been all about big men since.
Zydrunas Ilgauskas has become the third center to sign with the Heat in less than 24 hours, completing a deal he agreed in principle to about five days earlier. On Friday, the Heat completed contracts with returning Miami veteran Joel Anthony and rookie draft pick Dexter Pittman. And Miami’s next move is expected to be the re-signing of another 7-footer, Jamaal Magloire.
That’s roughly 28 feet of centers in all, with the 7-foot-3 Ilgauskas standing taller than everyone else on Miami’s now-bursting, though questionable, depth chart at center. The Lithuanian — who was drafted by Cleveland in 1996 and has never suited up for any other N.B.A. club — is 12th among all active players with 1,269 blocks, and 21st among current players in rebounds with 5,904.
Saying he’s chasing a dream to win an N.B.A. title, Ilgauskas left a contract offer from the Cavs on the table to accept a two-year minimum salary contract that will pay him $1,352,181 and $1,399,507 for this season and next, respectively. The second year will be subject to a player option. Read more…