Doc Rivers and Phil Jackson are very different as coaches, and as people, but the two agree on one thing — the rule that allows Zydrunas Ilgauskas to return to the Cleveland Cavaliers sucks.
The Wizards just acquired Big Z (and his puppet) in a trade but are expected to buy out his contract in a few days, making him a free agent. Ilgauskas can sign anywhere — Atlanta and Dallas are interested — but if he waits 30 days he can sign with the Cavaliers again and go home. Like he never left. And Jackson (clearly thinking ahead to a Finals matchup) didn’t like it.
“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,” Jackson said. “I don’t know what that does for the league.”
It was more ironic to hear Rivers complain about it — the Celtics did the same thing with Gary Payton back in 2005, when the Celtics traded the point guard for Antoine Walker, then got him back after the buyout.
“I have a problem with that,” Rivers said. “I loved it three years ago when we did it with Gary Payton if you remember, but now I think it sucks. I think it’s a terrible deal. I actually do have a problem with that though. We did it, and I’m joking, but I do think (there is a problem). I don’t know what you do. Just not allow them to go back to the same team or whatever.
He added that it’s something the league needs to think about.
“I do think that will be changed eventually, but I do have a problem with it.”