CLEVELAND -- Just hours before his first NBA draft as Cleveland's general manager, Danny Ferry traded small forward Jiri Welsch to the Milwaukee Bucks on Tuesday for a second-round pick in 2006, freeing up $2 million to spend in free agency.
Welsch's departure leaves the Cavaliers with just seven players under contract.
Ferry continued trade talks with other teams Tuesday night, trying to get the Cavs back in this year's draft. Cleveland previously traded its two 2005 picks.
Ferry, who was hired on Monday after spending two seasons as San Antonio's director of basketball operations, wasted no time in beginning to remold Cleveland's roster. In dealing Welsch, a major disappointment in his brief tenure with the Cavs last season, Ferry assured he will have roughly $28 million to use on the free-agent market.
The Cavs will attempt to surround star LeBron James with talent this summer. Last week, James said he hoped to have input into the club's decision making and rattled off Michael Redd, Ray Allen, Larry Hughes, Joe Johnson and Eddy Curry as players he would like to see pursued by the Cavaliers.
On Monday, Ferry said one of his priorities was to make James happy.
"We all have a responsibility to him to do that," Ferry said.
Welsch spent most of his time in Cleveland watching from the bench after he was acquired in February from the Boston Celtics for a 2007 first-round pick. He didn't fit into the Cavs' rotation or future and averaged just 2.9 points.
The majority of Cleveland's pre-draft planning was done by player personnel director Mark Warkentien, who spent the past two months working on the draft after GM Jim Paxson was fired one day after the season.
Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press
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