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Tuesday, August 3, 2004
Cavs plan to use $1.6 million mid-level

Associated Press

CLEVELAND -- Free agent forward Robert "Tractor" Traylor is returning for a second stint with the Cleveland Cavaliers, a league source told the Associated Press on Tuesday.

Traylor will be in Cleveland on Wednesday for a physical, and as long as he passes, he'll sign a one-year deal, said the source, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

The Cavaliers, who will use their $1.6 million mid-level exception to sign Traylor, are expected to announce the signing later this week, the source said.

Cavaliers general manager Jim Paxson couldn't be reached for comment.

Traylor, 27, will compete with recently acquired Drew Gooden to be the Cavaliers' starting power forward. That spot opened this summer when Carlos Boozer unexpectedly bolted to the Utah Jazz as a free agent.

The 6-foot-8, 284-pound Traylor gives the Cavaliers some much needed bulk up front. He played in 71 games last season in New Orleans, averaging 5.1 points and 3.7 rebounds in a reserve role.

If he doesn't win the starting job, Traylor can come off the bench to spell Gooden or give center Zydrunas Ilgauskas some rest.

In Cleveland, Traylor will be reunited with Paul Silas, who coached him for two seasons with the Hornets.

Traylor averaged 5.7 points and 4.3 rebounds in 70 games for Cleveland, which traded him to Philadelphia in August of 2001. He was the No. 6 overall pick in the 1998 NBA draft, selected by Dallas, which traded him to Milwaukee for the rights to center Dirk Nowitzki.

Traylor's agent, Andre Colona, told the New Orleans Times-Picayune, that the former Michigan star was excited by the chance to play for Silas and the chance to win a starting job.

Colona did not return a phone message left at his office by The Associated Press.