11:23am: Herb Rudoy, the agent for Ilgauskas, denies the rumor, telling Shams Charania of RealGM that his client is not considering a comeback (Twitter link).
9:13am: Zydrunas Ilgauskas is considering a comeback, according to Tony Rizzo of ESPN Cleveland, and Brian Windhorst of ESPN.com suggests that the Cavs would consider signing the 39-year-old at midseason. Rizzo and Windhorst made their comments Monday on Rizzo’s “The Really Big Show” on ESPN Cleveland radio (audio link; move forward to the 0:48 mark).
Rizzo hears that Ilgauskas is contemplating a return as soon as training camp, but Windhorst doesn’t think the 15-year veteran plans on coming back until after the season has begun. The defensive shortcomings that stemmed from his lack of mobility in 2010/11, his final season in the NBA, would be difficult to overcome, though he’s otherwise fit enough to play in the NBA, Windhorst suggests.
In any case, the Cavs are likely to consider an array of veterans, including free agents who didn’t sign this past summer, those bought out during the season, and players who retired, like Ilgauskas, during the season, according to Windhorst. There’s a decent chance that Ray Allen, a Cavs target for much of the summer, will be among them, Windhorst says, pointing to the possibility that Allen envisions sitting out the start of the season and signing later.
It’s likely that the 15th player the Cavs carry at the beginning of the season will be on a non-guaranteed contract “or at least be very movable,” Windhorst says, adding that there’s a distinct possibility that the Cavs will maintain flexibility with another roster spot, too. Cleveland has 10 deals known to be fully guaranteed, and presumably Shawn Marion and second-round pick Dwight Powell will have fully guaranteed salaries, too. One of their partially guaranteed contracts belongs to Anderson Varejao, but Erik Murphy, Alex Kirk, John Lucas III, Malcolm Thomas are the players seemingly in contention for the final two places on the regular season roster.
Ilgauskas spent his final season with the Heat, but he otherwise spent his entire playing career with Cleveland. He rejoined the organization after he retired, when former GM Chris Grant hired him as a special assistant within the front office. Ilgauskas was a teammate of LeBron James for eight seasons, the longest anyone ever played with the four-time MVP.