NBA Traylor back with Cavaliers, Paul Silas
The massive forward signed a one-year deal worth $1.6 million.
CLEVELAND (AP) -- With a chance to play for coach Paul Silas again, Robert "Tractor" Traylor returned to the Cleveland Cavaliers on Thursday.
The massive forward, who previously played with the Cavaliers in 2000-01, will get the club's million dollar exception -- a contract worth approximately $1.6 million. Although Traylor is more than doubling the $750,000 salary he got in New Orleans last season, the Cavaliers say money isn't all that lured him back.
The former first-round draft pick wanted to reunite with Silas, who coached him for two seasons with the Hornets.
Cavaliers general manager Jim Paxson said Traylor passed up more lucrative opportunities to come to Cleveland.
"The reason he's coming here is he thinks he has a chance to start," Paxson said.
The 6-foot-8, 284-pound Traylor will beef up the Cavaliers' front court, which lost its top rebounder this summer when power forward Carlos Boozer went to Utah, signing a six-year, $68 million deal with the Jazz.
To combat the loss of Boozer, the Cavaliers acquired forward Drew Gooden in a trade with Orlando. Gooden appears to be the favorite to be the club's starting power forward next season, but not if Traylor has anything to do with it.
Paxson said it will take more than one player to replace Boozer and that Traylor gives Silas more options at power forward. Traylor also could play some backup minutes at center.
Traylor is a solid inside defender, something the Cavaliers desperately need.
For the Hornets last season, Traylor came off the bench and averaged 5.1 points and 3.7 rebounds in 71 games. During his previous stint with the Cavaliers, Traylor averaged 5.7 points and 4.3 rebounds in 70 games before Cleveland traded him after the 2001 season to Philadelphia.
Paxson said Traylor has settled down and matured in three years.
"I think Robert's a little bit different of a player than he was when he was here a few years ago," Paxson said. "He's taking care of himself better."
Traylor was the No. 6 overall pick in 1998, selected by Dallas, which traded him to Milwaukee in a multiplayer swap that included center Dirk Nowitzki.
Meanwhile, Paxson hopes to have an announcement next week regarding the signing of rookie forward Anderson Varejao.
The 6-10 Brazilian, taken with the No. 30 overall pick in June's draft by the Magic, was acquired by Cleveland in the deal for Gooden. He played last season in Europe, and the Cavaliers have to buy out his contract from Barcelona FC before they can sign him.