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Find out the scoop on the CAVS from award-winning sports writer Bob Finnan.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Larry not retired from NBA

Former Cavaliers guard Larry Hughes sat out the entire 2010-11 season. He wants to make it perfectly clear that he's not retired.

He recently told the Washington Post that he wants to return to the NBA this season - if there is a season.

He didn't get the offer he wanted in the summer of 2010 and missed the whole year.

“Obviously, I wanted to play,” Hughes said. “At the same time I wanted to be stable. I didn’t want to go to a situation where it was a one-year deal, or partial guarantee deal where at any time you could be out of there moving on. I wanted certain things after moving around the past three years, to different teams, I wanted something solid. If I didn’t get that, I wasn’t coming back.”

The 32-year-old guard said he still has game.

"Having a role on a team, a contending team, is what I’m looking for," he said. "We’ll see how it goes.”

He'll always be remembered in Cleveland for signing a five-year, $70 million contract in July 2005. At the time, I was wildly excited about the move.

I was filling in on the Indians' beat in New York when the signing occurred. I was so excited, but had no one to talk to about it until I went into the Tribe's locker room and pitcher CC Sabathia was as thrilled as I was.

I didn't really know CC, but we talked at length about the signing. I didn't realize how much he actually followed the NBA. He said he was friends with Drew Gooden, who was a forward with the Cavs at the time.

I always got the biggest kick out of Drew. He was a bit wacky, but he had talent. Acquiring him and Anderson Varejao from Orlando was one of the best trades former Cavs GM Jim Paxson ever made.

But back to Hughes. It was hard to criticize then GM Danny Ferry's move at the time. They needed a shooting guard in the worst way (much like this year's team). They had the money and had researched signing the other free agents on the market - Joe Johnson, Michael Redd and Ray Allen. None of them were coming to Cleveland. Hughes was coming off an All-Star-quality season with the Wizards.

They threw boatloads of money at Hughes, who failed miserably with the Cavs. He didn't work out well with LeBron James, contrary to what the Cavs thought. At first, it looked like a good signing, but he couldn't stay healthy and then copped one of the worst attitudes of any player I've ever covered.

By the time the Cavs included Hughes in a blockbuster deal with Chicago, he had completely worn out his welcome. He bounced around with the Bulls, Knicks and Bobcats before falling into oblivion last season.

He's averaged 14.2 points, 4.2 assists and 3.2 rebounds in his 12-year career.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Charge to suit up in Wine & Gold

CANTON–Taking a fresh cue on the Wine & Gold, the Canton Charge, powered by the Cleveland Cavaliers, unveiled the team’s official uniforms for their 2011-12 inaugural season.

The NBA D-League Charge will feature a unique look with the introduction of an exclusive home “gold” uniform (in contrast to the home white as worn in the NBA) and will wear wine uniforms on the road. The Canton Charge will make their home court debut at the Canton Memorial Civic Center on Friday, Nov. 25 at 7:30 p.m. for the season opener against the defending NBA D-League champion Iowa Energy.

“We are excited to introduce the Charge’s new uniforms that were created to showcase the team’s pride in a bold and colorful way,” said Scott Woodruff, Charge senior vice president and COO. “While the uniforms still reflect a strong connection to the Cavaliers brand, we’re going to be very proud to carry the Canton name around the league on our away jerseys and the home gold Charge uniforms are loud and proud too!”

The authentic adidas® flat-back mesh style uniforms feature deep wine and bright gold hues with a crisp, contemporary, yet timeless, design that is reflected in all NBA D-League uniforms. The front of the home gold jersey displays the official team wordmark “Charge” in wine across the chest, and the front of the road wine jersey reads “Canton” in gold. On both uniforms the Cavaliers primary logo appears on one side of the shorts and the Canton Charge stylized single-C is on the other side.

The new Charge uniforms are in the production process right now and information regarding their availability for fan purchase will be announced in November.

Individual game tickets for the Canton Charge’s 2011-12 season will go on sale in early November. Season tickets are on sale now and start as low as $5 per seat, per game. Season ticket benefits include an invitation to exclusive team events, discounts on official team merchandise, participation in special on-court game night events, access to discounts and special offers at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland and much more. All inaugural season ticket holders are also automatically included as members of the Canton FOUNDERS CLUB and will receive an exclusive Canton Charge winter fleece jacket. FOUNDERS CLUB membership, in addition to regular season ticket holder benefits, also includes a very special and exclusive package of perks that begins this season and continues for all future seasons. Please check for a full listing of Canton Charge FOUNDERS CLUB benefits and information. To secure season tickets or for more general ticket information, fans can call 1-866-444-1944 or visit

Unique Fan Experience packages for group outings (20 or more tickets together) are also available for each Charge home game. For more information on special group seating, or to place an initial $100 group payment, call 330-489-5988.

Fans can stay up-to-date on team news by following the team at: @CantonCharge on Twitter at and on Facebook at

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

6 games lost - for now

NBA commissioner David Stern canceled the first two weeks of the 2011-12 regular season on Monday. That amounts to six games for the Cavaliers. Of course, many, many more could follow in this labor impasse.

The following are the first six regular-season games on their schedule:

Nov. 2 @ Boston
Nov. 4 vs. Toronto
Nov. 6 @ LA Clippers
Nov. 7 @ Denver
Nov. 9 @ Sacramento
Nov. 12 vs. Boston

I figured the BRI could be the major sticking point in these last-second negotiations. Well, I was wrong. It were things that should have been covered in past negotiations - length of contracts, size of mid-level exception, and so forth. Shouldn't these so-called minor things been hammered out months ago?

I read a quote today, I think it was in Ken Berger's story for CBS Sports. He quoted someone saying this was "pre-ordained." That's a very telling quote.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Z video

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In case you missed it, here's a copy of the column I wrote the other day about my favorite Lithuanian:

In my humble opinion, his No. 11 jersey should one day hang from the rafters of Quicken Loans Arena.

Center Zydrunas Ilgauskas was one of the best big men to ever wear a Cavaliers' uniform. The 7-foot-3, 260-pounder from Lithuania is the team's all-time leader in total rebounds (5,904), offensive rebounds (2,336), blocked shots (1,269) and games played (771). While we're on the subject, he also held the record for most disqualifications (37) and personal fouls (2,591).

He retired from the NBA on Friday after 13 seasons. He averaged 13 points, 7.3 rebounds and 1.6 blocks in 843 career games.

He might have seen the writing on the wall after being inactive for the Eastern Conference finals against Chicago and the NBA Finals vs. eventual champion Dallas. He missed a few games toward the end of the regular season with a foot infection and was replaced by Joel Anthony at center. He never got back into Coach Erik Spoelstra's good graces.

Ilgauskas, 36, was a proud player. He never quite got over the stunt pulled by former Cavaliers coach Mike Brown during Ilgauskas' final year in Cleveland in 2009-10.

On the night Ilgauskas was ready to break Danny Ferry's all-time games played record, Brown mysteriously benched his center against Dallas.

Afterward, he said it was because of "matchups." It stuck in Ilgauskas' craw for the rest of the season. He was traded to Washington on Feb. 17, 2010, in the Antawn Jamison deal. He returned to the team after being waived by the Wizards, but didn't seem real thrilled with the maneuverings by Ferry, one of his best friends. Ilgauskas didn't like feeling like a pawn.

That ended his career with the Cavs. He followed LeBron James to Miami last year, chasing a championship ring. Of course, that didn't work out very well either. Moving to South Beach was a major adjustment for his family. He and his wife had adopted two orphan boys from Lithuania and it took quite some time to adjust to life in the fast lane.

Ilgauskas was drafted with the No. 20 overall pick by the Cavs in 1996. Then General Manager Wayne Embry also took Wright State's Vitaly Potapenko at No. 13 that year. Of course, Ilgauskas proved to be the better player from the start. He just couldn't stay on the court.

Foot problems caused him to miss two entire seasons and all but five games of the 1998-99 season. Once he finally had reconstructive surgery by Dr. Mark Myerson of Baltimore, his foot problems were over and he became one of the team's most dependable players.

He was a two-time All-Star and twice played in the NBA Finals. Ilgauskas appeared in 71 playoff games with the Cavs. He wasn't real flashy, but he was solid. Because of his perseverance from the foot surgeries, he became a fan - and media - favorite.

When he arrived in Cleveland after being drafted, he spoke very little English. It was a nightmare for the media trying to interview him.

The Cavs had him work with a language tutor. Of course, he picked up all the curse words from hanging around the locker room.

During his rookie year, he became inseparable with Cavs guard Bob Sura. Sura invited Ilgauskas to Thanksgiving dinner back in his hometown of Wilkes Barre, Pa.

While sitting at the table with Sura's family, Ilgauskas bellowed, "Pass the $#&@% mashed potatoes!" Sura's grandmother almost fell off her chair with his "colorful" language. They all got a laugh out of it.

Through the years, he became a standup guy and a go-to guy for the media. His sarcasm and self-deprecating style was a big hit with reporters mulling around the locker room.

One of his crowning moments was helping the Cavs win the Eastern Conference crown in 2007 and making the franchise's first trip to the Finals. They were swept by San Antonio in four games.

He walked away from a $1.3 million contract in Miami for the 2011-12 season, if there is a season.

His retirement will allow the Cavs to proceed on retiring his number, perhaps at a ceremony this season. Six others have their jersey retired, including Nate Thurmond, Bingo Smith, Austin Carr, Larry Nance, Brad Daugherty and Mark Price.

Z's jersey belongs right next to theirs in the rafters.