It was going to take a special opportunity to get the Cavaliers to trade franchise pillar Zydrunas Ilgauskas. That chance came Wednesday amid a wild day of negotiations for the team's front office as they attempted to upgrade their roster ahead of Thursday's trade deadline. With two deals on the table, one for the Phoenix Suns' Amar'e Stoudemire and one for the Washington Wizards' Antawn Jamison, the Cavs had to make a decision.
Keep reading for the entire article.When the dust had settled, the Cavs took Jamison in a three-team trade that also involved the Los Angeles Clippers. The team has agreed to send Ilgauskas, the Cavs' 2010 first-round draft pick and the rights to Slovenian forward Emir Preldzic to the Wizards. The Clippers sent the Cavs journeyman point guard Sebastian Telfair and the Clippers get former Cav Drew Gooden from the Wizards. Washington also received forward Al Thornton from the Clippers. It is uncertain whether Jamison will be in uniform for the Cavs' game Thursday against the Denver Nuggets. For the trade to go through, all six players must report and pass physicals or have their physicals waived by the receiving team. This could slow down the process of the trade becoming final. The move, said some close to the team, came with a bit of a heavy heart. It gets the Cavs the sweet-shooting big man they have been looking for since last summer. Jamison, a former All-Star and Team USA member, is averaging 20.5 points and 8.8 rebounds for the Wizards. The Cavs have been targeting Jamison, 33, for months, ever since a slow start plus legal problems for star Gilbert Arenas ruined Washington's once-promising season. But Ilgauskas, in the final year of a contract that pays him $11.5 million this season, is the franchise leader in rebounds, blocks and games played. Teammate LeBron James has played more games with Ilgauskas than any other player in his life. It wasn't an easy decision to move Ilgauskas or to decide which player to move him for. According to sources, the Cavs pressed the Suns to take or leave an offer they presented last week for Stoudemire. A year after a potential deal for Shaquille O'Neal was pulled off the table by the Suns just before the trade deadline, the Cavs wanted to give themselves time to pursue another deal this time around. The Suns, it is believed, allowed a deadline the Cavs had put in place to pass. It is not clear how close the two teams ever came to making the deal, sources said. The Cavs then moved on to acquire Jamison. There were three key facets that got the trade, which started to come together on Monday, to work. • For the Cavs, getting Jamison and holding on to prized forward J.J. Hickson, who the Suns wanted for Stoudemire, was attractive. • For the Wizards, getting the Cavs to take on the two years and $28 million left on Jamison's contract will put them under the salary cap this summer and accelerate their rebuilding process. So will getting Thornton, a promising forward who was the Clippers' first-round draft pick in 2008. • For the Clippers, it clears $5.5 million in salary-cap space for this summer, when the team plans to be a player in the free-agent market. Telfair has a $2.7 million player option for next season that he is likely to exercise. It has long been speculated that the Cavs would hope to trade Ilgauskas, then he'd seek a buyout of his contract so he could return. These deals are allowed but cannot be pre-arranged and Ilgauskas would have to wait 30 days from the trade becoming official before re-signing with the Cavs. Ilgauskas, who received a trade bonus of roughly $600,000 because of a clause in his contract, can discuss a buyout with the Wizards, who are in last place in the Southeast Division. He must receive the buyout before March 1 to be eligible to play in the playoffs. The fact that the Wizards have young big men they may want to give minutes to down the stretch, hints they would be open to buying Ilgauskas out. Another major incentive for the Wizards to pursue a buyout is they now are roughly $1 million over the luxury tax threshold. By buying out Ilgauskas, they may be able to get under and trigger millions in savings plus revenue-sharing incentives. The Cavs still have their $1.99 million bi-annual exception left to sign bought-out players. One of the reasons the Cavs, who now do not own any picks in his year's draft after trading their second rounder to the Suns for O'Neal last summer, were able to complete this trade was because they had an open spot on their 15-man roster. That will go to Telfair, traded for the fourth time in his six-year career. The 25-year-old former New York City high school legend followed James in prep stardom, once having a documentary filmed about his senior year at Lincoln High School in Brooklyn.But Telfair, 25, has not panned out in the league thus far. He's played in 39 games this season, averaging 4.3 points and 2.9 assists. For his career, he's averaged 7.8 points and 3.9 assists on -- and this is his major issue -- just 39 percent shooting. It is unlikely that Telfair, who fills a need for the Cavs as a third point guard, will be able to help the team in the near future. Last month he suffered a ruptured groin muscle. He's missed three weeks so far. The trade deadline isn't until 3 p.m. Thursday and it is possible the Cavs could still be in the market. They would be interested in picking up draft picks at this point and possibility a shooting guard. But there isn't expected to be much activity. They have made their major move, the fourth major trade made by general manager Danny Ferry in the last two years. Via Cleveland.com