By David Aldridge, TNT analyst
Posted Mar 4 2010 5:56PM
The agent for free agent center Zydrunas Ilgauskas, Herb Rudoy, says that the 34-year-old center wants to return to the Cleveland Cavaliers -- the team that traded him last month in a three-team deal that brought Washington forward Antawn Jamison to the Cavs -- and will enter into negotiations with the Cavs on March 22, the first day that Cleveland can officially talk with him about a contract under league rules.
"It is Zydrunas' desire to return to the Cavaliers if a suitable contract can be agreed upon," Rudoy said Thursday afternoon in a text message. "He has been overwhelmed and deeply touched by the outpouring of support and affection by the fans and by his teammates. He hopes to return to bring a championship to the Cavaliers and to the city of Cleveland."
Under league rules, the Cavaliers have to wait 30 days after Ilgauskas was officially released by the Wizards in a contract buyout to enter into negotiations with him. Washington and Ilgauskas agreed to the buyout, which saved the Wizards $1.5 million, less than a week after the Wizards received Ilgauskas and the Cavs' 2010 first-round pick for Jamison.
Several contending teams, including Boston, Atlanta, Denver and Dallas, all made pitches for Ilgauskas, but everyone around the league figured that Ilgauskas would ultimately return to the team that drafted him in the first round in 1997 and stood by him early in his career while he was limited by several injuries to his feet and ankles.
Cleveland needs Ilgauskas back as soon as possible after losing starting center Shaquille O'Neal to thumb surgery this week. O'Neal's thumb was injured last Thursday after Boston's Glen Davis swung down hard on O'Neal's hand in the second quarter of the Cavaliers game in Boston.
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