Bucks strike three-year, $15 million deal with Zaza Pachulia

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Charles F. Gardner, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Sunday, July 7, 2013

The Milwaukee Bucks gave a boost to their center position late Saturday as they reached a verbal agreement on a three-year, $15 million deal with veteran center Zaza Pachulia, a league source confirmed.

Pachulia will be a strong complement to Larry Sanders at the center position, giving the Bucks a more physical player to go along with the length and shot-blocking ability of Sanders.

The 6-foot-11 Pachulia averaged 5.9 points and 6.5 rebounds for the Atlanta Hawks last season and played under current Bucks coach Larry Drew.

Pachulia played with the Bucks during the 2004-05 season after arriving in a trade with Charlotte. He averaged 6.2 points and 5.1 rebounds in 74 games.

After one season in Milwaukee, he signed as a free agent with the Hawks when the Bucks decided to sign Dan Gadzuric to a long-term contract.

The 29-year-old Pachulia is a seven-year pro from Tbilisi, Georgia. He was a second-round pick by Orlando in the 2003 draft.

Pachulia should provide a strong locker room presence for a young Bucks team and could be invaluable in that role.

He will bring experience to a frontcourt group that includes the 25-year-old Sanders, 26-year-old Ekpe Udoh and 22-year-old John Henson.

Pachulia has averaged 6.8 points and 5.5 rebounds in 689 career NBA games, including 229 starts. He started 44 of 58 games during the 2011-12 season after an injury sidelined Hawks power forward Al Horford.

Last season, Pachulia suffered a right Achilles injury and was limited to 52 games.

He suffered the injury in late January and was sidelined for good in early March before undergoing surgery.

The addition of Pachulia comes after the Bucks agreed to a three-year, $24 million deal with shooting guard O.J. Mayo on Friday.

The Bucks still have work to do on the point guard position. Brandon Jennings is a restricted free agent, but no progress has been reported on a contract thus far.

Milwaukee made a qualifying offer and has the right to match any offer for Jennings, who has been the Bucks starting point guard since his rookie season in 2009.

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