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CLEVELAND, August 2 – The Cleveland Cavaliers have reached contract agreements with free agent guard Larry Hughes, free agent center Zydrunas Ilgauskas and free agent forward Donyell Marshall, Cavaliers General Manager Danny Ferry announced today. Per league and team policy, terms of the deals were not disclosed.
Hughes, 26, averaged career highs of 22.0 points, 6.3 rebounds, 4.7 assists and a league-leading 2.89 steals in 61 games (61 starts) last season in Washington. The 6-5, 184-pound guard was named to the NBA’s All-Defensive First Team and posted the highest steals average in the NBA since Scottie Pippen had 2.94 steals per game in 1994-95. In addition, he was the only player in the league to average 22.0 points, 6.0 rebounds, 4.0 assists and 2.5 steals.
“Larry is one of the game’s most versatile young talents and his all-around game, including on the defensive end, will complement the rest of our core players for years to come,” Ferry said. “He just turned 26 and with seven years experience in the league, is just entering the prime of his career. We feel the combination of Larry and LeBron has the potential to be something special.”
Ilgauskas, 30, has spent his entire nine-year career in Cleveland after the Cavaliers made him the 20th overall pick in the 1996 NBA Draft. He ranks in the top 10 in franchise history in eight different categories including ninth in points scored (6,133), sixth in rebounds (3,197) and third in blocked shots (781).
“Zydrunas has been, and will continue to be one, of the top centers in the NBA,” Ferry said. “He has been a large part of the growth the team has experienced over the last two years. His dedication to Cleveland and his loyalty to the Cavaliers are rare and we are lucky to have him. We are excited that Zydrunas will be a major factor in our success moving forward.”
Last season, Ilgauskas averaged 16.9 points, 8.6 rebounds and 2.1 blocks in 33.5 minutes per game. He led the NBA in offensive rebounds (299) and ranked second in offensive rebounds per game (3.8) while playing a career-high 2,615 minutes. He was named to his second All-Star Team (2003, 2005) and scored in double figures in 67 of 78 games, including recording 24 double-doubles. Among all centers during the 2004-05 season, he ranked fourth in scoring, sixth in rebounding and seventh in blocked shots and double-doubles. Only Shaquille O’Neal ranked better in all four categories.
He has played in 413 career games (373 starts) with averages of 14.8 points, 7.7 rebounds and 1.89 blocks in 29.3 minutes per game. He has started 240 of the past 246 games and averaged 16.4 points, 8.1 rebounds and 1.74 blocks in those games. He is the lone remaining player from the Cavaliers’ last playoff team in 1998.
Marshall, 32, will enter his 12th NBA season with career averages of 12.4 points, 7.3 rebounds, 1.6 assists and 1.0 block in 28.3 minutes per game. Last season in 65 games (two starts), Marshall put up 11.5 points and 6.6 rebounds on .443 (262-592) shooting from the field including 151-363 (.416) from beyond the arc as he set career highs in three-point field goals made, attempted and percentage. The 6-9, 230-pound forward ranked 11th in the league in three-point percentage and 13th in three-point field goals made. Among forwards in the NBA, he ranked first in three-point percentage and fourth in three-point field goals made. On March 13 vs. Philadelphia, he tied the NBA record for most three-pointers in a game with 12, including five in the fourth quarter. In that game, he scored a career-best 38 points, to go along with 10 rebounds in just 28 minutes.
“Donyell is a proven, versatile veteran who will impact the perimeter and the paint,” Ferry said. “He is an experienced professional who is hungry to win and will create opportunities for others.”
Marshall has averaged at least 11.0 points and 6.5 rebounds in each of the last eight seasons and was the only player in the league in 2003-04 to rank in the top 25 in rebounds, blocks and three-point field goal percentage.
Cavaliers Head Coach Mike Brown added, “I am excited with what we are doing. These guys will fit in nicely within our team concept and complement each other and all their teammates. They are all dedicated to winning and will work hard to improve the team. We think they can be invaluable to us on the floor and in the locker room.”