Zydrunas Ilgauskas

Zydrunas Ilgauskas Mulls Comeback With Cavs?

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.

Eastern Notes: Babb, Onuaku, LeBron

Chris Babb‘s 10-day contract ends on Monday, but the Celtics are high on him, writes Mark Murphy of the Boston Herald. Coach Brad Stevens said, “He’s a perfect fit for what we need as far as, he’s not going to play 38 minutes a game — he’s going to come in, get open shots, hopefully knock those open shots down, play off of other people, and then be a feisty defender for us. He really is an outstanding defender for a young guy.” There has been no official word on if the Celtics plan to re-sign Babb.

More from around the east:

  • The Cavs have assigned Arinze Onuaku to the Canton Charge of the NBA D-League, tweets Mary Schmitt Boyer of The Plain Dealer. Onuaku hasn’t scored in 2 appearances for the Cavs and was re-signed for a second 10-day contract on Wednesday.
  • The Cavs were planning on using the ceremony to retire Zydrunas Ilgauskas‘ jersey as one means to recruit LeBron James back to Cleveland, writes Brian Windhorst of ESPN.com. But what little chance the team had to that possibility might have ended with the firing of former GM Chris Grant. Grant was one of the team executives who had the best relationship with James, according to Windhorst.
  • Mitch Lawrence of the New York Daily News also weighs in on how unlikely the chances are that James returns to Cleveland this summer. The team’s lack of a proven winner in the front office is the main deterrent to attracting James, writes Lawrence.
  • Michael Lee of The Washington Post takes a look at how the Wizards trade for Andre Miller is working out for him and for the team. So far, the pairing is paying dividends for both, opines Lee. The Wizards offer Miller a clean slate and a playoff opportunity, and Miller gives the team a proven veteran.

Cavs’ ‘Draft And Stash’ Candidates, Len Rumors

There are 36 picks, of the available 60, for this Thursday’s draft headed to only a third of the league’s 30 teams, so expect to see a lot of teams looking to “draft and stash” European players, writes Steve Kyler in his NBA AM HoopsWorld post.

Kyler believes that with so many teams holding multiple picks, European prospects with friendly NBA games, who have soft exit language in their contracts, or few contract obligations this summer, could come and play in the NBA’s summer league before returning overseas for a year or two. In the post CBA world, teams enjoy those non-guaranteed contracts for second round picks. 

The Cavs are holding more than just a standard first and second round selection and may draft and stash a couple of those foreigners Currently, they hold the top spot, but also select 19th, 31st and 33rd on Thursday night. Mary Schmitt Boyer of the Cleveland Plain Dealer echoes Kyler's sentiments, and tracks the top foreign prospects for the Cavs. With those four picks, it's possible they draft a couple foreigners to stash for a later date.

Let's look at Boyer's top foreign prospects and the Cavs' top pick, their second in the last three years:

  • Boyer says there's been a lot chatter about Russian 6'7" swingman Sergey Karasev, who played well with BC Triumph over 12 games in the Russian PBL; raw French center Rudy Gobert, who has a standing vertical reach of 9'7" (he's 7'2"), and who blocked a ton of shots at the combine. Plus, Germany's point guard Dennis Schroeder, who wasn't able to compete in the NBA combine because of a toothache, but who played well at the Nike Hoop Summit in April. She also mentioned Brazilian 7-footer, Lucas Nogueira, and Greece's 6'10" forward, Giannis Antetokounmpo.
  • Kyler also wrote about the possibility the Cavs draft Maryland big man Alex Len with the first pick. Len has history with the Cavs' player-development coach Vitaly Potapenko, and both he and Cavs assistant general manager Zydrunas Ilgauskas have been pushing for Len over several others in the field. The Cavs met with Nerlens Noel a couple days ago, but supposedly the rumors about Len hinge on his more developed offensive game and his ability to contribute sooner than Noel, who will be out until at least December recovering from his torn ACL.
  • According to Jason Lloyd of the Akron-Beacon-Journal, second round hopeful Zeke Marshall will work out for the Cavs on Monday. After the Akron center's agent, Dino Pergola, said early in June his client would be working out with a lot of teams, Marshall has shown his stuff during workouts with the Trail Blazers, Pistons, Rockets, Suns, Lakers, Bulls and Pacers

Cavs Notes: Waiters, Zeller, Varejao

A roundup of the latest updates on the Cleveland Cavaliers on Saturday evening:

Odds & Ends: Gay, Knicks, Bulls, Sullinger

The latest news and notes from around the NBA on Thursday night:

Eastern Notes: Varejao, Pietrus, Celtics

Cavaliers center Anderson Varejao received as good a vote of confidence as one can get from head coach Byron Scott, who called the Brazilian big man "the best center in the NBA right now." Sam Amico of FOX Sports Ohio writes that Varejao's statistical production makes Scott's statement a difficult one to disagree with, also mentioning that some fans have wondered if Cleveland should take advantage of his value and trade him. With that being said, Amico asserts that Cavaliers brass currently has no intention of dealing their most tenured veteran. For the rest of tonight's tidbits from the Eastern Conference, you can find them below: 

  • Bill McCandless, the agent of Mickael Pietrus, told Chris Haynes of CSNNW.com about the other teams that that had been under consideration while they had waited for the right opportunity in free agency. Whereas the Rockets and Timberwolves were potential destinations in the West, McCandless listed the Bulls and Hawks as the other Eastern Conference teams which had been in the hunt along with Toronto.
  • Celtics coach Doc Rivers offered a poignant comment about Rajon Rondo and the current state of his team, telling reporters: “I don’t know if I want to rally around my 6-foot guard being the enforcer. That’s nice but at the end of the day, if that’s the threat you’re sending, the other team has to feel [good]" (Mike Petraglia of WEEI.com reports). Although we heard Rivers say earlier that the team is in no rush to make any changes to the roster, Petraglia hypothetically mentioned Kenyon Martin as a possible target if Boston decided to look into free agency for help. 
  • Aside from wanting rookie guard Maalik Wayns to become a more accomplished defender, 76ers coach Doug Collins likes the direction of his development, writes Mark Narducci of Philly.com
  • Jodie Valade of the Plain Dealer points out that Zydrunas Ilgauskas was at the Cavaliers' practice facility on Thursday to help Byron Scott teach forward Tristan Thompson about making quicker decisions and moves offensively to counter shotblockers. 
  • Mary Schmitt Boyer (also of the Plain Dealer) discusses the challenge that Danny Ferry faces in building the Hawks into a playoff contender, just as he had done in Cleveland from 2005 to 2010.  
  • Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer writes that Bobcats coach Mike Dunlap has taken notice of Jeff Taylor's development as the rookie has stepped in to fill the void left by Gerald Henderson's injury. In another article, Bonnell mentions that the continued lobbying of New Orleans Hornets owners to rebrand their franchise could mean an opportunity for Charlotte to re-acquire the Hornets nickname. 
  • Nate Taylor of The New York Times discusses Tyson Chandler's offensive efficiency as of late, noting that the 7'1 Knicks center is averaging a career best in points (12.0 PPG) and leading the league in field goal percentage at 71.8%.