Wizards Acquire Ilgauskas, Thornton and First-Round Pick In Three-Team Deal
Washington Wizards President Ernie Grunfeld announced today that the team has completed a three-team deal in which they acquired Al Thornton from the Los Angeles Clippers and Zydrunas Ilgauskas, a 2010 first round pick and the rights to Emir Preldzic from the Cleveland Cavaliers. The Wizards sent Antawn Jamison to Cleveland and Drew Gooden to Los Angeles while the Clippers sent Sebastian Telfair to Cleveland to complete the trade.
"Antawn Jamison has been the embodiment of leadership on and off the court for this franchise for five-and-a-half seasons and we thank him for all he has done for the Wizards and the city of Washington," said Grunfeld. "Unfortunately, our on-court results have not met our expectations and we felt it was necessary to make changes to improve our future and our financial flexibility. This trade accomplished both of those objectives."
Thornton, in his third season out of Florida State, is averaging 10.7 points and 3.8 rebounds in 51 games (30 starts) for the Clippers this season, with a career-best .478 field goal percentage. Last season in Los Angeles, Thornton established career-highs in points per game (16.8), rebounds per game (5.2), assists per game (1.5), free throw percentage (.754) and games started (67). A First Team All-Rookie selection in 2007-08, Thornton was originally acquired by the Clippers in the first round (14th overall) of the 2007 Draft.
Ilgauskas, a 12th year pro from Lithuania, has appeared in 760 career games (all with Cleveland), with averages of 13.9 points and 7.7 rebounds per game. This season, the 7-3 center has averaged 7.5 points and 5.3 rebounds in 53 games for the Cavaliers. He was originally drafted by the Cavaliers in the first round (20th overall) of the 1996 NBA Draft.
Preldzic, a 6-9, 220 lb. forward from Slovenia, was initially drafted by the Phoenix Suns with the 57th overall pick in the second round of the 2009 NBA Draft, but was immediately sent to Cleveland for cash considerations. The 22 year-old Preldzic is currently playing for Fenerbahce Ulker in the Turkish League, where he is averaging 6.8 points, 4.1 rebounds and a team-high 2.3 assists per game through 10 games (one start).
"We feel that we were able to acquire a quality young player in Al, a first round draft choice and a young prospect while putting ourselves in a much better position in terms of the salary cap," said Grunfeld.
Jamison departs after spending five-and-a-half seasons with the Wizards, during which he compiled averages of 20.8 points and 8.9 rebounds in 421 games. He was originally acquired by the team from Dallas in exchange for Jerry Stackhouse, Christian Laettner and the draft rights to Devin Harris during the summer of 2004. Jamison finishes his tenure with the Wizards ranked eighth among the all-time franchise leaders in points, sixth in rebounds, ninth in minutes played, 10th in field goals made, eighth in field goals attempted and second in three-point field goals made and attempted.
Gooden was acquired by the Wizards along with Josh Howard, James Singleton and Quinton Ross from the Dallas Mavericks in exchange for Caron Butler, Brendan Haywood and DeShawn Stevenson on Feb. 13.