Click here to Skip to main content

Reports of Ilgauskas' return to Cavs premature says source

By Art Garcia, for
Posted Feb 28 2010 11:30PM

Reports that Zydrunas Ilgauskas has made up his mind and is heading back to Cleveland are premature, a source close to the situation told on Sunday. Five playoff contenders remain in the mix, along with the favorite Cavaliers, for the 7-foot-3 center who was bought out by Washington last week.

The Nuggets, Jazz, Hawks, Mavericks and Celtics continue to pursue Ilgauskas hard, and he's considering the merits of each situation. Atlanta and Utah has easily the most to spend in the group, having a prorated portion of the mid-level exception ($4.1 million) available if Z decides to sign as soon as Monday.

Denver, Dallas and Boston have the biannual exception to use, with prorates to approximately $1.4 million. Cleveland, which has to wait until March 22 to sign their former two-time All-Star, would have $1.1 million left in its biannual.

The Cavaliers became more desperate to get Z back Sunday with Shaquille O'Neal likely out for at least the rest of the regular season because of thumb surgery.

So of the six finalists, the Hawks and Jazz have a full $3 million more than Cleveland can spend and $2.7 above the biannual competitors. The Heat and Spurs also expressed interest, but Ilgauskas has narrowed his list.

"He's going to make up his mind as his pace," agent Herb Rudoy told on Friday. "He's in no rush. He could decide this weekend or sometime next week, but he feels no pressure to rush into a decision."

Cleveland does remain the safe bet based on Ilgauskas' "emotional investment" to the franchise, according to the source. But the Cavs have the least amount to financially invest in Z, who surrendered about $1.5 million to part with the Wizards.

Ilgauskas, a 12-year veteran, spent his entire career in Cleveland before the trade-deadline deal to Washington. The 34-year-old Lithuanian didn't play a game for the Wizards as the buyout was being negotiated.

Cavs star LeBron James has openly campaigned for an Ilgauskas reunion and most in the league remain convinced that's where this is headed. But that hasn't stopped the pitches from those still in the running. Nuggets coach George Karl said Sunday that he's spoken to Z by phone.

Art Garcia has covered the NBA for 10 years. You can e-mail him here or follow him on Twitter. The views on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the NBA, its clubs or Turner Broadcasting.

photoToronto Reacts To Game 2 Victory
Dwane Casey, Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan address the media after winning game 2 over Miami.
photoRaptors vs. Heat Game 3 Preview
The NBA TV crew preview Game 3 between the Raptors vs. Heat.
photoValanciunas Steps Up
Jonas Valanciunas has 15 points and 12 rebounds in the Raptors 96-92 overtime win over the Heat.
photoMay 5: Dunks of the Day
Check out the top dunks from Thursday's playoff action.
photoMay 5: Top 5
Here are the Top 5 Plays from Thursday night's action in the NBA.

Copyright © NBA Media Ventures, LLC. All rights reserved. No portion of may be duplicated, redistributed or manipulated in any form. By accessing any information beyond this page, you agree to abide by the Privacy Policy / Your California Privacy Rights and Terms of Use. | Ad Choices Ad Choices is part of Turner Sports Digital, part of the Turner Sports & Entertainment Digital Network.