CLEVELAND, JUNE 1 -- The NBA's Cleveland Cavaliers have coaxed former Duke star Danny Ferry back from Italy, signing him to a multiyear contract today.

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed, but his contract is thought to be worth at least $2.5 million a year. Ferry made $2 million last season with Il Messaggero Roma of the Italian professional league.

Ferry played in Italy rather than go to the Los Angeles Clippers last year. The Clippers made him the second selection overall in last June's NBA draft, after Sacramento took Louisville's Pervis Ellison with the first pick.

Cleveland obtained the rights to Ferry in a trade that sent Ron Harper and three draft picks to the Clippers in November.

"I have a very high regard for Danny Ferry as a player," Cleveland General Manager Wayne Embry said. "I felt that he should have been the number one pick in last year's draft, and that he would have been the first pick in this year's draft."

Ferry said playing in Italy had strengthened his bargaining hand.

"I had a lot of leverage in the position I was in," he said. "I didn't want to use that too much. I have an understanding of the salary cap and I want to be on a good team."

Sizing up the Cavaliers, Ferry said they have "a smart team and I feel I'm a smart player. I can play a few different positions. I can give them some flexibility, but I have to show that I deserve the time on the court."

In the November trade, the Clippers received Cleveland's first-round picks in 1990 and '92 and a second-round pick in 1991. The Cavaliers, in addition to getting the rights to Ferry, acquired Reggie Williams, who later was released.

Ferry was required to let Il Messaggero Roma know before July 1 whether he planned to return.

In four years at Duke, the 6-foot-10, 230-pound Ferry averaged 15.1 points and seven rebounds a game. In his senior year, he averaged 22.6 points and 7.4 rebounds.