Big Z back with Cleveland

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He was traded just over a month ago in exchange for Antwan Jamison and was quickly bought out of his contract by his new team.

He was traded by the only team he has ever played for despite leading the franchise in games played (760), offensive rebounds (2,316), total rebounds (5,841) and blocked shots (1,259).

But now Zydrunas Ilgauskas is back home ready to help the Cavs finally win an NBA Championship.

"If I would've left and the team won a championship without me," Ilgauskas said, "I don't think I could've ever forgave myself.” After being traded on February 17th to the Washington Wizards, Ilgauskas was bought out of his contract and waived just over a week later. The buyout cost him $1.5million and as the Cavaliers had paid him upfront for the season he had to write a cheque for the amount out of his own account.

However after signing with the Cavs on Tuesday afternoon that loss is substantially less as the Cavaliers will pay him $925,000 until the rest of the season, according to a league source.

Big Z, as he is nicknamed, travelled with the team in Tuesday to New Orleans and is expected to take some part against the Hornets on Wednesday.

His return to Cleveland has caused some unrest around the league. Washington traded Jamison for Ilgauskas and Cleveland’s 2010 first-round draft pick, with the idea, not uncommon around the league, that they would buy out the 34-year-old of his contract.

Everyone around the league knew this and so did the Cavaliers. What everyone including the Cavs also knew was the Lithuanian would return to Cleveland after the 30-day period in which he could not sign with his former team had ended, despite interest from other teams.

So why then does the NBA let this happen? Well, they have tried to address this issue in the past – increasing the period before you can re-sign with your former team from just a week to the now 30 days.

Despite all the attention on the trade it is not the first time a team has used this method in the trade market. Antonio McDyess was part of the Chauncey Billups trade to the Denver Nuggets from the Detroit Pistons but after being waived by Denver, McDyess returned to the Pistons.

It’s a ploy that will be continued to be used and is entirely within the rules but Boston Celtics head coach Doc Rivers hopes the rule will be changed soon. He said: “I don't know what you do [maybe] just not allow them to go back to the same team or whatever. ... I do think that will be changed eventually, but I do have a problem with it."



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