Will the NBA Block Ilgauskas' Cavs Return?
It's all kabuki, both in the trade-and-sign situation and the reporting around it. I don't even need to joke that Lakers coach Phil Jackson (a vocal critic of the Ilgauskas maneuvering) might be Heisler's source -- you were already thinking that. That may be the best excuse the NBA has for closing the loophole once and for all: it allows for benign but unseemly backbiting between top teams. I can guarantee the Cavs would be complaining if the Lakers had used Derek Fisher in a trade only to reacquire him quickly.
Ilgauskas is quoted in the Plain Dealer as not knowing how a buy-out works, and claims to have been surprised at his trade. Further, the media in Ohio made a point last week to report how disgruntled LeBron James had been with losing Z. If the Cavs really did have a deal to bring back Ilgauskas, two of the most important actors in the scenario didn't know, or are really good bluffers. Of course, there really only needs to be an agreement between the Wizards, Cavs and Ilgauskas's agent, but you'd figure Z's interests would matter in the grand scheme.
For my money, no one played the game better than Detroit when it traded Antonio McDyess to Denver in the Chauncey Billups-Allen Iverson deal. At first, when McDyess took a quick buy-out from the Nuggets, it seemed obvious he was headed back to the Pistons for the remainder of the season. But for the following 30 days, McDyess was legitmately tied to three other teams, with serious sounding rumors making newsprint. But every day the rumor mill roared by, McDyess was closer to a Detroit return -- which eventually happened. Either Detroit (the worst team which chased him) was the decreed destination all along, or I'm a snow hare on vacation in Bermuda.
I assure you I am not a snow hare on vacation in Bermuda.
Update: Ilgauskas' agent, Herb Rudoy, disputes this report, telling FanHouse, "I have not heard a word from the NBA about stopping Z from playing for the Cavs should he choose to return to them."