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REPORT: Former Cavalier Zydrunas Ilgauskas Retiring

Ilgauskas played 12 seasons with the Cavaliers and started a franchise record 673 games.

According to the Plain Dealer, former Cavalier Zydrunas Ilgauskas isn't going to wait for the lockout to end: his career is over.  The Lithuanian center played 13 seasons, 12 of them spent with Cleveland after he was drafted 20th overall in the 1996 NBA Draft. He spent his final season in Miami joining Lebron James with the Heat.

Ilgauskas, a two-time All-Star, averaged 13 points and 7.3 rebounds per game and was a career 78% free throw shooter. A Cavaliers great among the names Bingo, Nance, Price, Carr, Thurmond, Daugherty and (whisper) Lebron, Ilgauskas is the all-time franchise leader in rebounds, blocks, games played and started and is second all-time in career points with the Cavs.

Although the early part of his career was dominated by foot/ankle injuries, he battled back and did something rare for someone his size: he stayed healthy. That's why the games started mark was so important to not only the 7'3" big man, but to Cavs fans, who haven't exactly seen a bevy of successful draft picks in Cleveland in the last 20 years.

Big Z was a big part of the reason the Cavs were so successful after Lebron James was drafted, and he signed his last big contract in 2005 (5 years, $55 million). At the trade deadline in 2010, he was shipped to the Wizards in the Jamison deal before being bought out and re-signing with the Cavs. The deal shook Z, one of those rare players who was proud to call Cleveland home and raised his family in Northeast Ohio. That's why when he had the chance to sign in Miami, he took it. But now is the time to say goodbye. Said Ilgauskas to the PD:

...enough is enough. My body is beat up and I'm tired physically. There is no age limit, but everyone knows when it's time.

I want to spend more time with my family. I have spent the last 15 years living out of a suitcase.

I think I can speak for all Cavs fans when I say Z will be missed. Best of luck to the big man.

Photographs by spatulated, Triple Tri, and chrischappelear used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.