Cavs acquire Welsch for '07 first-round pick

CLEVELAND -- The Cleveland Cavaliers addressed their need
for an outside shooter Thursday by acquiring guard Jiri Welsch from
the Boston Celtics for a 2007 first-round draft pick.

ESPN Insider Chad Ford reports the Cavs acquired Welsch using a $1.5 million trade exception.

Welsch, who started for Boston earlier this season, should help
the Cavaliers improve their 3-point shooting. The club is 27th out
of 30 teams in the NBA on 3-pointers. Welsch has made 32 of 99
3-point attempts this season.

Welsch started 32 of 55 games for the Celtics this season and averaged 7.5 points on 43 percent shooting. He lost his starting job to rookie guard Tony Allen last month and watched his minutes diminish.

The Cavaliers have been starting Ira Newble at shooting guard. The 6-7 Welsch, 25, will likely split time at the position and gives the team a much-needed 3-point shooter.

"We've been interested in Jiri for some time now and we felt it was the right time to get him here," Cavaliers general manager
Jim Paxson said.

"He is an aggressive, complete player that can impact offense and defense, so we look forward to his involvement on both ends of the court. Jiri has the talent needed to make the difference for us this season and we look forward to seeing him excel as a Cavalier."

The Cavs had been relying on Lucious Harris to fill that role, but he has made just 28 percent of his 3-point attempts this season.

Welsch, 25, hit 38 percent of his 3-point shots in 2003-04 for the Celtics.

A native of the Czech Republic, Welsch was acquired– along with center Raef LaFrentz– by the Celtics in a multi-player deal that sent Antoine Walker to the
Mavericks in October 2003.

The No. 16 overall pick in the 2002 draft by the 76ers ,
Welsch was traded to the Warriors, where he played 37 games as a
rookie. The Warriors traded him to Mavericks in 2003 and then he was sent to the Celtics before playing for the Mavericks.

Welsch has one year left on his contract for $2.1 million before he can become a restricted free agent. To make room for Welsch, the Cavaliers released rookie forward
James Thomas. He signed a 10-day contract with Cleveland on
Tuesday, but dressed for just one game.

Information from Sports Ticker and The Associated Press was used in this report.