Ilgauskas was traded recently to Washington in the deal to land Antawn Jamison, but he is expected to receive a buyout from the Wizards this week, allowing him to sign back with the Cavs after a 30-day wait.
"It would be huge -- huge -- for them, particularly against teams with big guys like us,'' said Magic coach Stan Van Gundy, who expects to play the Cavs in the Eastern Conference finals. "He's a damn good player. ''
Van Gundy also joined the chorus of coaches, particularly Boston Coach Doc Rivers, in objecting to the rule that allows it to happen.
"I don't like the idea they could use Ilgauskas ... and it's selfish on my part ... to basically get Jamison for nothing,'' Van Gundy said. "The league needs to think about that, look at it, and I'm sure they will after so many questions have been raised. But that's the rule now.''
The Magic on Sunday beat the Cavs without Ilgauskas. The Cavs still started aging Shaquille O'Neal at center, but they used undersized power forward Anderson Varejao as the backup. And Magic center Dwight Howard had no problem manhandling Varejao. The Magic, who beat the Cavs in the conference finals last spring, lost twice earlier this season to Cleveland when Ilgauskas was the backup.
"It (Ilgauskas' return) won't change the way I play,'' Howard said after practice Tuesday. "It just gives them another big to give up fouls. It might help them, but for me and the rest of my team, if we play aggressively, I don't think there is any team out there that can beat us.''
Of bigger concern to the Magic is LeBron James, who is playing so well now that a day after the Magic started promoting Howard for the NBA Most Valuable Player Award, Van Gundy conceded that race to the Cleveland star.
"LeBron is going to get the award. You can talk about everything else if you want -- and there are a lot of good candidates for it -- but it's over,'' Van Gundy said. "It's not going to be a close vote. All the players and coaches in the league know who is going to get the MVP.''