Wednesday, February 24, 2010

NBA shouldn't make example out of "Z"

By John McMullen


Philadelphia, PA - I am not a big fan of the NBA's "wink- wink" rule.

I call it the "wink-wink" rule because the league has allowed players that have been traded and subsequently waived to rejoin their old clubs after a 30-day waiting period.

Last season, the big "wink-wink" deal was when Antonio McDyess went back to Detroit after the Pistons originally dealt him to Denver along with Chauncey Billups for Allen Iverson.

In recent seasons contributors like Brent Barry (San Antonio) and Gary Payton (Boston) rejoined their old clubs after being dealt.

This year's apparent under-the-table subterfuge involves veteran center Zydrunas Ilgauskas.

The Cavaliers traded their big man to a moribund Washington club last week in the three-team deal that brought Antawn Jamison to Cleveland.



The Cavaliers traded Zydrunas Ilgauskas to a moribund Washington club last week.
The Wizards are clearly intent on rebuilding and a 35-year-old center with balky knees doesn't exactly fit in with that plan. Rumors persist that Washington may buy out Ilgauskas, allowing him to become a free agent and return to the "Q" in a month.

In fact, most in the league think it's a fait accompli.

"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," Lakers coach Phil Jackson told ESPN. "I don't know what that does for the league. I think that's kind of a weird situation."

Another coach of a contender also cried foul, although Boston's Doc Rivers admitted he was a bit of a hypocrite.

"I have a problem with that," Rivers said of the trade. "I loved it three years ago when we did it with Gary Payton but now I think it sucks. I think it's a terrible deal."

Rivers is right...it does suck, but how can you single out the Cavs and Ilgauskas after allowing these tainted deals for years?

The Los Angeles Times quoted an unnamed source Sunday saying the NBA had told other teams it wouldn't let Ilgauskas go back to the Cavs.

Huh?

I'm all for closing this ludicrous loophole but it should have been done in the offseason years ago. Making an example out of one team and one player will surely have Jesse Ventura and his TruTV conspiracy team sniffing around.

I can see it now. Right after detailing the latest news from the 911-Truthers and the Obama Birthers, The Governor would explain how the NBA doesn't want the Cavs to succeed and is steering its most valuable commodity, LeBron James, to New York.

Things simmered down a bit Monday when an official within the NBA told The Associated Press the league has not threatened to stop a potential reunion between the Cavaliers and Ilgauskas, and would only step in if there was proof of an agreement before the trade was completed.

There wasn't.

Wink-wink.
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