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Report: Zydrunas Ilgauskas attempting comeback

Aug 25, 2014, 12:06 PM EDT

Zydrunas Ilgauskas Zydrunas Ilgauskas

In 2010, Zydrunas Ilgauskas was conflicted.

He’d played for the Cavaliers his entire career and felt comfortable in Cleveland. But he’d also grown close to LeBron James and wanted to win a title before his career ended.

Ultimately, Ilgauskas followed LeBron to Miami that summer, and the Heat fell in the Finals to the Mavericks.

Now, with LeBron back with the Cavaliers – who were championship favorites even before trading for Kevin Love – Ilgauskas doesn’t have to choose between his multiple desires.

But there’s an obvious catch: He’s 39 and has been retired three years. Not that he’s letting that get in his way.

At 41 and after six years of retirement, Boston Celtics legend Bob Cousy returned to play seven games for the Cincinnati Royals. That’s the only precedent for Ilgauskas.

John Long was 40 when he came back for the Raptors and 1996, and he hadn’t played in the NBA in five years, but he spent the middle year out playing in the CBA. Michael Jordan had been retired for three years when he returned with the Wizards, but he was just 38. More recently, a 38-year-old Rasheed Wallace had been retired two years when he came back with the Knicks.

So, it’s not impossible for Ilgauskas to come back. It’d be a really nice story, and I’m sure he and LeBron would enjoy reconnecting. The Cavaliers could use a little more center depth, too.

But there are so many complications, including the small matter of pulling Ilgauskas’ retired jersey from the rafters or giving him a new number. But the bigger issue – a player of Ilgauskas’ age proving himself NBA-ready – stands above the rest.

I hope this happens. I’d be shocked if it does.

  1. ProBasketballPundit - Aug 25, 2014 at 12:12 PM


    He’d be a better pickup than Chauncey Billups.

    • qwarfield5 - Aug 26, 2014 at 4:14 AM

      Big Z looking at a chance to enjoy and collect memories from the LeBron James welcome home tour across the NBA landscape while collecting a ring a dream he and LeBron James have talked about since 2003 plus he will join Mike Miller and James Jones as teammates who was part of the 2010 decision that made LeBron James first yr tour with Miami was full with animosity this time around they be treated like heroes

  2. csbanter - Aug 25, 2014 at 12:17 PM

    So now PBT will just make up stuff. Maybe the Cavs can convince Larry Nance, Mark Price and Craig Ehlo to come out of retirement.

    • asimonetti88 - Aug 25, 2014 at 1:18 PM

      Report comes from ESPN.

    • apkyletexas - Aug 25, 2014 at 10:24 PM

      This probably isn’t made up. This is the same stuff that happened last time LeBron James was allowed to influence the roster in Cleveland. The Cavs got loaded up with a bunch of mis-matched and elderly players that couldn’t score together in the playoffs. Guys that LeBron likes as friends, but that can’t perform together under pressure.

  3. mrlaloosh - Aug 25, 2014 at 12:18 PM

    Bring back Brad D………!!!!!!!

    • 00maltliquor - Aug 25, 2014 at 1:20 PM

      I wanna see Gerald Wilkins and Brad Daugherty!

  4. spursareold - Aug 25, 2014 at 12:19 PM

    I’d think that a player with a retired number in the rafters would give himself permission to use it.

  5. garypagetwo - Aug 25, 2014 at 12:30 PM

    he must be running low on $$$

    • 00maltliquor - Aug 25, 2014 at 1:21 PM

      You know these NBA players….

      • sportsfan18 - Aug 25, 2014 at 4:05 PM

        “The average professional athlete in the U.S. will make more in one season than most of us earn in our entire lives….[yet,] despite those staggering salaries, 78% of NFL players, 60% of NBA players file bankruptcy within five years of retirement.”

        using $50K as rough U.S. household income.

        $10 million is 200 yrs at $50K per yr

        $50 million is 1,000 yrs at $50K per yr

        yet, they go BROKE

      • 00maltliquor - Aug 25, 2014 at 4:52 PM

        Are those real stats or you made them up? Where’d you get that info from? That’s nuts!

      • duhwighthoward - Aug 25, 2014 at 9:20 PM

        That can’t be right. Let’s say the average professional athlete makes $1 million in one season.

        You mean, you can’t earn a million dollars in your lifetime? What’s wrong with you?

        If you earn $50k, it takes you just 20 years to do it. If you’re earning $100k, it takes you only 10.

        Even if you’re earning close to minimum wage, something like $20k, you can do it in 50 years. Start at age 18, retire at 68. Piece of cake.

  6. jasper36 - Aug 25, 2014 at 12:42 PM

    No he wants that free ring. Cleveland will end their championship drought, by way of a Cavs title this season.

  7. hdsnake867 - Aug 25, 2014 at 1:19 PM

    Z is a wannabe ring whore. Hey, Bill Russell is out of the hospital, call him. Robert Parish isn’t doing anything these days. He could use a paycheck. Weed is expensive in 2014.

  8. mp4philly - Aug 25, 2014 at 1:21 PM

    Bill Russell is also considering suiting up for the Celtics.

    • 00maltliquor - Aug 25, 2014 at 10:04 PM

      I hope he does. That way he can prove in today’s game why he’s the most overrated Legend ever. Hopefully he goes in a time machine or finds a fountain of youth too.

  9. seasickcecil - Aug 25, 2014 at 5:23 PM

    This is best illustrated by Patrick Ewing’s infamous quote from the 1998-99 lockout.

    “Sure, we make a lot of money, but we spend a lot, too.”

    • 00maltliquor - Aug 25, 2014 at 10:13 PM

      He kept it real!

  10. rodyaugu - Aug 25, 2014 at 10:48 PM

    Mike Bibby also tying to make a comeback.

  11. muhangis - Aug 26, 2014 at 2:14 AM

    Well then may as well bring back Shaquille O’Neal too.. ?? Despite being 3 yrs n 3 mo. older than Z il G., I honestly know he would be better, more productive, & do a much tougher job on the court!

    The Cavs need to quit focusing on washed out players.

  12. campcouch - Aug 26, 2014 at 8:23 PM

    I’m pretty sure Z works for the Cavs. I don’t think he’s broke.

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