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Can the NBA stop Big Z from returning to Cleveland?

Feb 22, 2010, 5:02 PM EDT

Ilgauskas.jpgUPDATE 5:02 pm According to a high-level NBA official reached by Mary Schmitt Boyer of the Cleveland Plain Dealer, the NBA is not going to get in the way of Big Z returning to the Cavaliers, if that is what he wants. There is no evidence of this deal already being in place before the first trade was made, the official said.

That means Mark Heisler’s sources were wrong. If you lived in LA, that probably wouldn’t surprise you.

9:49 am Everybody just expects that Zydrunas Ilgauskas is going to get bought out by the Washington Wizards in the next couple days, spend a few weeks flirting with Marc Cuban and the other boys at the party, then sign again with Cleveland to make the rich even richer.

But not so fast, according to the LA Times Mark Heisler on his twitter account.

HOLD THAT HOMECOMING. Source says NBA has told other teams it won’t let Z go back to Cavs. May be woofing with no rule against it, maybe not

HOMECOMING II: Wizards haven’t even bought out Zydrunas Ilgauskas yet but everyone knows it’s coming and NBA officials read papers

You want to see the league and players union get in fight, then wait to see what happens if the league tries to stop this deal.

The league has the legal right to step in if there is a pre-arranged deal, which is why these things are handled like mafia members talking business on the phone — all code words, winks and nods. (Well, mafia members probably don’t wink at each other all that much). Everyone knows this is the plan, and some coaches hate it, but good luck proving there was any deal in place.

Ilgauskas is in the 12th year of an NBA career that has been all in Cleveland. He was just voted the fifth greatest player in Cavs history. He is tied to the community. Is it a shock he’d want to go home? What kind of deal needs to be in place for that?

Good luck proving anything, NBA.

The Wizards buyout of Ilgauskas is taking a little time because with the Wizards under the luxury tax they don’t actually have to buy him out. The Wizards have a little leverage, so they will want the buyout amount lowered. Big Z will give in some if he wants to play again this year. And other teams including Atlanta and Dallas, have said they may come after him.

Who knows who is feeding Heisler his information. I’m sure there are plenty of people around the league that would like to stop this deal (and similar ones before it) and the owners may take up the rule change in the off-season.

But good luck proving a deal was in place and stopping Ilgauskas from being a Cav again for the playoffs. Not going to happen.

  1. Jim - Feb 22, 2010 at 10:44 AM

    1) Windhorst, the Cavs beat writer, and one much closer to the situation than Hesiler, addressed this issue today. In short, the NBA will not be able to prove anything. Unlike Stackhouse a few years ago (who basically said he would be coming back to Dallas in 30 days), in this case the Cavs and Big Z have been completely mum on it. Ferry and Gilbert refused to address it at the press conference for Jamison (and rightly so), Big Z is quoted as saying that the Cavs have never discussed him coming back or even knowing what a buy-out is.
    2) I’m sure there are people who want to stop this deal but the rules allow it. If you don’t like it don’t whine about it but make a change to the rule. What really bothers me is the hypocrite Doc Rivers, who, while bashing this potential deal then admits to doing the same thin with Gary Payton.

  2. Anonymous - Feb 22, 2010 at 11:35 AM

    I will stay with Big Z’s wife and keep her warm and fuzzy, tell him to go to Washington and don’t worry, I will take care of her.

  3. thedirtyone - Feb 22, 2010 at 2:55 PM

    There was no prearrangement in place. When things like this happen, and are this obvious, it’s usually because all parties involved know each other well enough to know what the other is thinking. The Cavs know that the Wizards more than likely intended to buy him out, and they knew that Z would more than likely wanna come back. Meanwhile Z knew that the Cavs would welcome him back in a heartbeat. What was unknown to all parties is whether everything would work out that way for sure, or who else could step in… I believe Z has to clear waivers too, where any team could pick up his contract after the buyout…Granted, that team would have to be under the cap. But who’s to say that a non-contender wouldn’t be interested in paying up this year, so that they can have his bird-rights for next season? Nothing is set in stone, and there was no predetermined deal, but everyone knew that was the best case and most likely scenario..
    Anyways, hopefully we’ll see Big Z back in his good old Wine and Gold number 11 on March 24th, and welcome him back with a standing O.

  4. rrhoe - Feb 23, 2010 at 7:36 AM

    Who says Washington has to buy him out,and why would he be part of a trade with no intent on playing.If I’m Washington I tell him to report and play until whatever happens happens,I’m really not getting this.

  5. worCeraCs - Feb 23, 2010 at 1:56 PM

    I agree with rrhoe… Z gets traded, reports to and passes the physical exam, and then states that he won’t play and goes back to Cleveland to wait out the time. Does Z have that much power over the Wiz’s management? May I ask who’s paying him to sit in Cleveland while the Wizards play games?
    Maybe…just maybe the Wizards don’t want Z to play. Maybe they figured out that Z can’t play without Lebron. But still, like rrhoe said, he should be man enough and honorable enough to hold up his end of the contract that says he is a Wizard player, suit up in Wizard uniform, and play. I don’t know about the rest of you working people out there, but if I signed a business deal contract, accepted money on the deal, pass their test to prove that I could do the work and then say I ain’t doing it, pack up and leave with the money… I would be stareing at a lawsuit right now for breach of contract. I just don’t get it. Something’s up.

  6. Article Rewriter - Mar 7, 2010 at 11:40 PM

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  7. Jay W Jackson - Mar 10, 2010 at 7:20 AM

    When We Win “Z” Win 2010 Championship CLEVELAND STAND-UP

  8. Jay W Jackson - Mar 10, 2010 at 7:38 AM

    Yeah im supporting the big fella and yes this is the new chant and T-shirts. Just remember WHEN WE WIN “Z” WIN I can`t hear you i said . WHEN WE WIN “Z” WIN YES IT`S OFFICIAL. CLEVELAND STAND-UP.

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