1. A mass of dense artificial smoke used to conceal military areas or operations from an enemy.
2. An action or statement used to conceal actual plans or intentions
A definition provides everyone a clear understanding of a word. In my opinion, knowing the meaning of "smoke screen" makes sense of the situation surrounding free agent Zydrunas Ilgauskas.
The second definition will be the focus, because it relates to what is going on here with the Cleveland Cavaliers, Ilgauskas' agent Herb Rudoy and other teams in the mix for the 12-year Lithuanian center.
Over the last several seasons the league and its fans witnessed the "bounce back in 30 days process."
This scenario occurs when one team executes a trade with another team and in that transaction, one of the traded players gets a buyout from his contract, thus making him a free agent. This is where Ilgauskas currently stands.
In order to return to the player's previous team, he must wait a required 30 days after the date he was traded. The Cavaliers dealt Ilgauskas to the Washington Wizards on Feb. 17.
This is where the debate comes in. Cleveland acquired star power forward, Antawn Jamison, in the trade from Washington for only Ilgauskas and draft rights. Virtually for nothing, with Big Z now bought out.
The league says it does not allow prearranged agreements in such trades. However, they seem to "look", but never really find anything concrete enough to ban the return of a player in Ilgauskas' case.
ESPNDallas reported agent Rudoy saying his client would consider the Dallas Mavericks as a possible destination.
Not many, even the Mavericks' or their fans, buy into the idea the lanky Lithuanian would sign anywhere besides back in Cleveland. Dallas general manager, Donnie Nelson and Ilgauskas share ties within the national team, but that alone isn't enough a reason to think otherwise.
The Mavericks, a veteran team whose average age is 30, give Ilgauskas a situation he'd fit well in. Dallas needs help at the center position with Erick Dampier out indefinitely. Brendan Haywood has done more than expected, but he can't do it alone.
Most importantly, the Mavericks, behind Dirk Nowitzki, Jason Kidd and a newly revamped roster, are geared to make a strong push to win an NBA championship.
Could Big Z be the one last piece to assist this team to its second Finals appearance in the last five seasons?
Those are multiple reasons why Ilgauskas could seriously consider the Mavericks, but is he really?
In my opinion, no. The Mavericks resemble the perfect smoke screen for Big Z.
Home for Ilgauskas is Cleveland, Ohio. He was drafted by the Cavaliers and remained one his entire career, setting the record for most games played in franchise history, until the swap a week ago.
We will see what goes down in the next few weeks. The longer Ilgauskas does not enter serious discussion with other teams, such as Dallas, the more obvious it becomes there indeed was a stealth foreseen game plan in Cleveland.
Nothing can be done to stop it though and the smoke screen only helps the cause.
You tell me.