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Z is back with the Cavs

This is good news.

Zydrunas Ilgauskas is back inside for the Cavaliers.

The former center, who became one of the franchise’s most popular players during 12 seasons in Cleveland, has returned to the team as a special assistant to general manager Chris Grant.

Ilgauskas’ job responsibilities will include evaluating amateur and pro talent for the Cavs, who drafted the 7-foot-3 Lithuanian in 1996 and watched him overcome serious foot injuries at the start of his career to become a two-time All-Star. Ilgauskas retired after playing for the Miami Heat last season.

“I always thought this would be a natural step for me after my career was over,” Ilgauskas said over the phone from Florida. “I always felt like I had a lot to offer and I’ve got a lot to learn.”

Ilgauskas first discussed the possibility of rejoining the Cavs with Grant during the NBA lockout. Before accepting the position, Ilgauskas said he also spoke with former teammate Danny Ferry, who made the transition from the front court to the front office. The Cavs’ former GM explained the challenges of a new position to Ilgauskas, who said he’s looking forward to helping anyway he can.

Z took some heat for playing for the Heat, but I don’t blame him for trying to grab a ring. I knew he was mostly finished as a player, and it was a desperation move by Miami that ended up not working out.

I guess many fans wanted him to hate LeBron after The Decision, but now that LeBron choked last year I suspect most fans will welcome Z back with open arms.

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