Sorry, Hawks: NBA can’t stop Ilgauskas’ return to Cavs

If Zydrunuas Ilgauskas doesn't sign with the Hawks and returns to Cleveland, he's staying within the NBA rules.

If Zydrunuas Ilgauskas doesn't sign with the Hawks and returns to Cleveland, he's staying within the NBA rules.

Phil Jackson is upset. Doc Rivers is upset. There is a report that NBA commissioner David Stern is upset, and certainly the last thing ANYBODY wants is for a New York attorney with a nice leather desk chair and the name “commissioner” on his business card to be upset.

But I’m just wondering: If, as expected, Zydrunas Ilgauskas has his contract bought out by the Washington Wizards and he re-signs with the Cleveland Cavaliers — the team that just traded him — who really has a right to be upset?

Oh that’s right: Nobody.

The NBA reportedly may attempt to block Ilgauskas’s move back to Cleveland, believing it was a pre-arranged deal. The player’s agent denies that. Personally, I dont think it should matter. He’s got the rulebook on his side and if somebody really wants to continue to live in Cleveland when he has the chance to get out, who are we to rescue him?

I realize this could have a pronounced effect on the Hawks, for two reasons: 1) If Ilgauskas doesn’t return to the Cavaliers, there’s a good chance he’ll sign with the Hawks; 2) And if he does go back, the Cavaliers effectively will have acquired Antawn Jamison before the trade deadline for nothing.

But there’s a rule in place here, folks. Stern can stomp his feet all he likes (and he likes).  But the NBA rule basically states that Ilgauskas is free to sign with the Cavaliers 30 days after the Wizards release him. If the league doesn’t like the rule, change it. If Ilgauskas prefers to go back to the team that traded him because he has a better chance to win a title, more power to him.

Instead, we have this from former Hawk Doc Rivers, the Boston coach: I have a problem with that. I loved it three years ago when we did it with Gary Payton [who was traded to the Hawks, released and then returned to Boston]. But now I think it sucks. I think it’s a terrible deal.”

And this from Jackson: “They’re going to get Ilgauskas back and it’s going to be one of those scenarios that we see in the NBA where you ship a player out, you get another player, then your player retires or they pay him off and then he comes back in 30 days. I don’t know what that does for the league. I think that’s kind of a weird situation.”

65 comments Add your comment

Fed Up With Wren (Again)

February 22nd, 2010
2:14 pm

Bryan G.

February 22nd, 2010
2:17 pm

So…Doc has a problem with a rule that he took advantage of? That’s like Tiger Woods coming out and saying cheating is wrong. Oh, wait.

Fed Up With Wren (Again)

February 22nd, 2010
2:18 pm

Oh, yeah, my first first on Jeff’s column. No one has a right to complain while the rule is as it is. 30 days is no deterrent to resigning a player you just traded. Just make it so you can’t reacquire a player you traded away, and that should fix it. Until then, teams will take advantage and they should.

singndablues

February 22nd, 2010
2:23 pm

A very important rule for the NBA to assure that the top echelon teams can pick up good players for nothing late in the year. Don’t want any of the mid level riff-raff to slip into the finals and mess up those tv ratings.

Mountain Man

February 22nd, 2010
2:23 pm

Hit don’t make no sense. But, if’n it’s in the rules, well, they’s had thar chances to change it afore now.

Walker, Texas Ranger

February 22nd, 2010
2:28 pm

I’m glad the Hawks stood pat. I think being the 3rd or 4th best team in the East is a big advantage because the Hawks are sooo good on the road. As for the rule, who cares, it is fair to all. I think the Hawks were foolish to think they had a prayer for the guy who has a good relationship with the Cavs GM. We will be haunted by the drafts of Knight for years to come. What’s the sheriff up to these days.

Herschel Talker

February 22nd, 2010
2:31 pm

Who cares? The Hawks completely suck. Time to focus on pitchers and catchers.

B. Knight

February 22nd, 2010
2:32 pm

I’m selling Amway, Avon, Mary Kay and natural gas through Ignite, Walker. What’s your Plan B? Home-based businesses are the wave of the future, my friend. Can I come over and tell you about it?

F-105 Thunderchief

February 22nd, 2010
2:33 pm

I think overall, the Hawks would be doing better if they expanded their player rotation.

Chris

February 22nd, 2010
2:40 pm

Is there anyway that IIgauskus is a little disgruntled? This guy has been a starter for years and then suddenly an old and fat Shaq shows up and takes his spot in the lineup away. If IIgauskus goes back to the Cavs, he will be an idiot in my eyes. I know, I know winning is everything. But when you have put in years of hard work and then to be treated like he was, I couldn’t go back there.

SOUTH GA DAWG FAN

February 22nd, 2010
2:46 pm

I really don’t think stern will stomp to much just put on a fake show about it everybody knows the League is not going to interfere with anything that may add to the chances of having a Kobe/lebron finals matchup with shaq also there as a footnote. watch the calls in the playoffs and you will see.
money and ratings talk

joshua

February 22nd, 2010
2:48 pm

if by ‘an old and fat shaq’ showing up you mean a man who threw down 20/10 last season, then i guess you have a point. but shaq clearly is a better player than z any day (and i love z but it’s true). plus shaq only plays like half games anyways so it really shouldn’t matter to z as he’s just splitting minutes with him. Z was never one to play more than a half game of minutes anyways, so really i don’t think he would have any negative thoughts of the team just because of that. if anything he is getting a free month long vacation to be fresh in the playoffs. danny ferry ftw

Jeff Schultz

February 22nd, 2010
2:55 pm

Brian G. — Pretty funny.

Dap01

February 22nd, 2010
2:55 pm

I hope the Hawks draft another point guard so that Woody can ruin his career.

The NBA has no credibility!

Jeff Schultz

February 22nd, 2010
2:55 pm

Fed Up With Wren — Congrats. I hear you never forget your first first.

Jeff Schultz

February 22nd, 2010
2:56 pm

B.Knight — No. But when the weather gets warmer, you can mow my lawn.

Jeff Schultz

February 22nd, 2010
2:57 pm

Chris — I’m with you. I wouldn’t be happy if it was me. But don’t know him well enough. Maybe he’s satisfied coming off the bench and doesn’t want to move.

Asheville Dawg

February 22nd, 2010
2:58 pm

If you make the rules and haven’t changed the rules (Stern) you can’t complain. It was good for Boston (big market) and Cleveland is as well. A Kobe / LeBron probably makes sense.
Let’s see if Stern shows any leadership.

Ted M

February 22nd, 2010
2:59 pm

Is it possible for the Hawks to pay him more to come here then go back to cleve?

Craig

February 22nd, 2010
3:02 pm

It won’t matter anyway. The nba wants lebron kobe in the finals. They will make sure it happens this year. The hawks will get blanked in the 2nd round by whoever they play. They have no leaders on this team.

F-105 Thunderchief

February 22nd, 2010
3:07 pm

Didn’t the Hawks draft Jeff Teague? Whatever happened to that guy? I heard he was pretty good.

UGA_2001

February 22nd, 2010
3:08 pm

Why were you at the UGA-Bama game on Sat? I noticed you didn’t write about it.

Fed Up With Wren (Again)

February 22nd, 2010
3:17 pm

Ilgauskas may be unhappy about Shaq, but I would go right back there if I were him. He invested a lot there and it is his best chance to win a championship.

dstdeelite

February 22nd, 2010
3:18 pm

Geez, how many players can be active on one roster? It seems like the Cavs have about 15 players active right now.

Astro Joe

February 22nd, 2010
3:19 pm

If the NBA PA allows Stern to make up rules as he governs along, then they deserve whatever oppression comes their way in the next CBA. If Stern wants to flex his muscles over the Cavs, he should have done so with the Hawks shot clock protest a few weeks ago.

Astro Joe

February 22nd, 2010
3:22 pm

Thundercheif, somebody done told you wrong. After being the 9th PG chosen, he’s probably the 8th best one so far. I guess that’s progress..

Ted M

February 22nd, 2010
3:25 pm

13 is the minimum; 15 is the maximum

Ted M

February 22nd, 2010
3:26 pm

So…Is it possible for the Hawks to pay him more to come here then go back to cleve?

GeeMack

February 22nd, 2010
3:40 pm

Jeff

It don’t matter Jeff. Big Z couldn’t help the Hawks any way against Cle & Orl.

Cle got killed in the playoffs last year with him. Cle, Bos, & Orl are starting to roll this is the time of year where teams with championship aspirations go on a roll as the Cav, Celtics, & Magic are doing.

Clay

February 22nd, 2010
3:48 pm

“Rescue”? Better watch your mouth (or keystrokes) Shultzie. Have you forgotten what happened to Mark Bradley last year when he misguidedly besmirched the “mistake by the lake”??

Nick

February 22nd, 2010
3:53 pm

You are an extremely disgusting looking person. Congrats and don’t put your picture up anymore Mr. Schultz.

KneeJerkNBA

February 22nd, 2010
3:56 pm

Kevin McHale had two first round picks taken away for essentially the same thing.

Clay

February 22nd, 2010
4:01 pm

Who can say how good Teague is …?

Clay

February 22nd, 2010
4:04 pm

Ted M, if your question is not rhetorical, then ask it again and I’ll answer it for you.

Shawn

February 22nd, 2010
4:13 pm

First, Cleveland is a cool place to live. We don’t have water shortages, or congestion due to there only being 1 highway in our town. Second, the Hawks? Really?

Dennis G. Berdanis

February 22nd, 2010
4:14 pm

If Atlanta had done this move the commish would make a special rule, like they did forcing Hank Aaron to play in away games when he neared 715 HR, but not Bonds. Or like they did when they took Tom Seaver from the Braves for a minor infraction and handed him to the Mets. Only Atlanta gets special rules passed against them.

Steve Brown

February 22nd, 2010
4:15 pm

The NBA slowly but surely loses a piece of integrity each season. Crooked refs, idiot owners, thug players, a season of exhibition games and a man named Stern who has an ego that has out grown itself. The race will between old school fans leaving and the acquisition of new fans with the winner TBD. I dropped my season tickets long ago.

dangerousdan87

February 22nd, 2010
4:19 pm

I wish Dominique could coaach this team. He understands player rotation. We have the players but something is missing . No direction.

Marcus

February 22nd, 2010
4:22 pm

We have to beat down teams we SHOULD beat before worrying about Iggy going back to CLE.

dangerousdan87

February 22nd, 2010
4:27 pm

Hey Shawn – we have water problems because too many people moved here from Ohio. Oh and we have many highways and three major interstates, Does LeBron have a ring yet? No, but he will get one in New York when they pay him $30 Mil a year.

Irish Luck

February 22nd, 2010
4:34 pm

Um, excuse me Atlanta hacks….I lived in Atlanta for 2 years…it sucks…worse traffic than Boston, nasty people, horrific schools….AND most of all….WAY TOO MANY MURDERS!!!!!!! Atl. has to be the crime capitol of “Jo-ja”….I’m headin’ back home to C-TOWN! The best location in the nation. Gotta be tough to live in C-town…these people down south close everything up when the temp reaches below 32…how lame is that?…”we’re cold…it’s a terrible winter”….

They’d never survive up north….and the transplants that live down here are ex-northerners who “couldn’t stand the winters anymore”…

CLEVELAND ROCKS….Z “IS” cominn back home….Cleveland is home to him…his wife is a Clevelander…his best friends are in C-town…SORRY HAWKS….Go steal someone else’s Center…you aren’t going anywhere thie season anyway – Z wouldn’t even consider joining the HAWKS!

Oh and JEFF SCHULTZ-You’re a lame example of a sports writer…you’d fail miserably in C-town with your lame articles.
GO CAVS!

Irish Luck

February 22nd, 2010
4:39 pm

Jeff Schultz is from L.A. THAT alone explains his lame writing. He’s probably a Laker fan pretending to like the Hawks…..lol!

Ted M

February 22nd, 2010
4:42 pm

it was not rhetorical. please answer. thx

TM

February 22nd, 2010
4:46 pm

What? the NBA is doing something that is ridiculous and slanted towards the best teams and star players? Really? Say it aint so… give me a break.

The whole league is F’d- up from top to bottom.

cheese

February 22nd, 2010
4:57 pm

phil jackson complaining??? didnt he get gasol for nothing from memphis!? doc rivers saying something when they did it with sam cassell. no worries, cavs is not going to win the championship and is going to be upset.

John

February 22nd, 2010
5:01 pm

I wondered what happened to Terrance Moore. He’s back! And he calls himself Irish Luck.

cheese

February 22nd, 2010
5:02 pm

IRISH LUCK…if cleveland is so much better than atlanta, why are there not alot of people moving there? as far as we all know in the world, many people from other cities come to the city of atlanta to live. we dont here that about cleveland. thats how all of you people are from cleveland are. always putting down other people down cause you guys are miserable and depressed yourselves in your city of cleveland.

Michael in Dunwoody

February 22nd, 2010
5:05 pm

Why do all the Cleveland fans come on here to defend their town whenever it is mentioned on an ATLANTA newspaper’s blog? Could it be because they have an inferiority complex, perhaps due to Forbes naming Cleveland the nation’s most miserable city just last week? A number for you Cleveland fans: 71,000. That’d be the number of (smart) people who’ve left your town over the past five years for greener pastures (Atlanta, for example). Expect that number to increase significantly, perhaps even double, when the LeBron sweepstakes ends this summer. Yet another disappointment for the town of Cleveland, just like 1995.

Irish Luck, you’re right to point out that we complain when it gets cold down here in the winter. Honestly, who wants three day weekends due to snowfall anyway?

Najeh Davenpoop

February 22nd, 2010
5:14 pm

It’s a stupid rule that needs to be changed — you shouldn’t be allowed to sign a player that you have traded within the same NBA calendar year — but even if Z couldn’t return to the Cavs, I think there are other contending teams who would probably entice him with the prospect of more playing time.

Ted Striker

February 22nd, 2010
5:31 pm

Is a roster move like this typical? Heck no. But is it permissible and acceptable and legal? Sure it is.

Eddie DeBartolo Jr. found creative ways to structure the 49′ers roster within the constraints of the NFL salary cap in the 80’s. He got into trouble for other unrelated stuff later, but it had nothing to do with him maximizing creative thinking in helping him further his team and striking while the iron was hot.

That’s all the Cavs are doing. I have no love for them but I have no reason to criticize them for being creative within the framework that exists either.