Celtics coach Doc Rivers has been a vocal opponent of the loophole that allowed the Cavaliers to trade Zydrunas Ilgauskas in February and re-sign him 30 days later. But Rivers said Monday that Ilgauskas deserved to return.
''When we got Gary Payton I thought it was an excellent rule,'' Rivers said. ''I think it should be closed. But I don't know what you do. Z ... Gary Payton, the year we made it to the playoffs my first year. Those guys have paid their dues, they almost deserve it.
''Z deserves to be here. It wouldn't have been almost right if he had gone anywhere else, as long as he's put in his time here. But I do wish the loophole was not there. But there are guys like Z that you just feel like they deserve to be in a Cavs' uniform. He may be the captain of that.''
But NBA commissioner David Stern, on hand to present the MVP trophy to LeBron James before Game 2 of the Eastern Conference semifinals, expects the 30 days to be lengthened in the next Collective Bargaining Agreement.
''It's not a loophole, it's a rule that allows it,'' Stern said. ''It's not a great idea. When we did it, 30 days seemed enough. It's not. There will be a longer period before a player is allowed to rejoin his old team.''
The current CBA expires a year from now.