Bucks, Zaza Pachulia agree to three-year contract

The Milwaukee Bucks have agreed to a three-year, $16 million contract with free-agent center Zaza Pachulia, a league source confirmed Saturday night.

Pachulia, 29, returns to the Bucks after spending the last eight seasons with the Atlanta Hawks. The 6-foot-11 center averaged 5.9 points and 6.5 rebounds per game last season with the Hawks under new Bucks coach Larry Drew.

Limited to 52 games last season due to a sore right Achillies tendon, Pachulia underwent surgery to repair a partially torn Achillies tendon on April 3. 

Drafted in the second round of the 2003 NBA Draft by Orlando, Pachulia spent one season with the Magic before being selected by the Charlotte Bobcats in the expansion draft. The Bobcats then traded Pachulia to the Bucks for a second-round pick in the 2004 NBA Draft.

In his one year in Milwaukee, Pachulia averaged 6.2 points and 5.1 rebounds over 74 games in the 2004-05 season. The Bucks chose not to match a four-year, $16 million offer sheet Pachulia signed with Atlanta in the summer of 2005, opting to sign center Dan Gadzuric to a long-term deal instead.

Pachulia’s best two seasons came in his first two years in Atlanta, averaging 11.7 points and 7.9 rebounds per game in 2005-06 and 12.2 points and 6.9 rebounds per game in 2006-07.

A physical presence, Pachulia will give the Bucks interior toughness they lacked last season, but he also adds to an already crowded front court. Pachulia joins Larry Sanders, Ersan Ilyasova, John Henson, Ekpe Udoh, Drew Gooden and Gustavo Ayon as power forwards and centers controlled by the Bucks.

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