Bucks' Welsch signs with Malaga in Spain

Updated: August 7, 2006, 9:20 PM ET
Associated Press

MILWAUKEE -- Former first-round draft pick Jiri Welsch will leave the Milwaukee Bucks after signing with a professional team in Spain, his agent said Monday.

Milwaukee Bucks

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Agent Sam Goldfeder said that while the Bucks did not try to re-sign Welsch, several NBA teams expressed interest in him. But by choosing instead to play for the Malaga team in Spain, Goldfeder said Welsch hopes to earn more significant playing time and eventually return to the NBA in a more prominent role.

Welsch, 26, averaged 4.3 points in 58 games for Milwaukee last season.

A native of the Czech Republic, Welsch was taken by the Philadelphia 76ers with the 16th overall pick in the 2002 NBA draft and immediately traded to Golden State. He has played for four NBA teams in five years.

Welsch's most successful season came after he was traded to Boston in October 2003. He started 68 games for the Celtics in the 2003-04 season, averaging 9.2 points per game.

He was traded to Cleveland in February 2005, then to Milwaukee before last season. He started only two games for Milwaukee last year.

Four other Bucks players from last season remain unsigned free agents: forward Toni Kukoc, guard Reece Gaines, guard Jermaine Jackson and center Ervin Johnson.

Kukoc, who won three NBA championships with the Chicago Bulls, has played in Milwaukee the past four seasons. His agent, Herb Rudoy, said in an e-mail that he has had discussions with several teams and hoped to have a decision in the "next couple of weeks."

Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press