NBA Rumors: Boston Celtics Interested in Darko Milicic

Chris LawrenceFeatured ColumnistJuly 15, 2012

PHOENIX - DECEMBER 15:  Darko Milicic #31 of the Minnesota Timberwolves shoots a free throw shot against the Phoenix Suns during the NBA game at US Airways Center on December 15, 2010 in Phoenix, Arizona. The Suns defeated the Timberwolves 128-122. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Christian Petersen/Getty Images

The Boston Celtics have expressed interest in recently amnestied center and perennial Detroit Pistons draft bust Darko Milicic, according to Marc Spears of Yahoo!.

Milicic, who recently fell victim to the Minnesota Timberwolves' amnesty clause, has cleared waivers and is now an unrestricted free agent.

According to Spears, the Brooklyn Nets and Los Angeles Clippers are also interested in acquiring Milicic.

Milicic's notoriety is well-documented in NBA lore. Drafted second overall in the 2003 NBA draft by the Detroit Pistons, he was selected before such franchise players as Carmelo Anthony, Chris Bosh and Dwayne Wade.

However, the Pistons did not lament their draft selection for too long, winning the NBA championship the following June. Milicic, who played sparingly that season, did not contribute anything of significance to the effort.

The once highly-touted Serbian seven-footer was merely a shadow during his time with the Pistons, appearing in only 96 games while posting an underwhelming 1.6 points and 1.2 rebounds in only 5.7 minutes per game.

So began Milicic's journeyman career.

After brief stops in Orlando, Memphis and New York, Milicic was traded to the Timberwolves in 2010, after which he was signed to a lucrative four-year, $20-million contract. The Timberwolves will pay Milicic the remainder of that contract while he plays for another team, possibly the Celtics.

The Celtics could use another center, and Milicic will come cheap, as he is a likely candidate for the veteran's minimum.

Milicic is an enigma. He is a below-average rebounder, especially for his size. While his defense is passable and, at times, solid, his offense is inconsistent due to his lack of a post game.

However, despite his reputation—which, unfortunately for Milicic, precedes him—he can eat up minutes at the center position for Kevin Garnett and Chris Wilcox, Boston's most likely primary center pairing.

Milicic would essentially be a depth signing, insurance for a frontcourt that will undoubtedly—in keeping up with tradition—suffer multiple injuries. A veteran's minimum contract for a guy who will most likely only play 8-10 minutes per game—if that—is worth the Celtics' attention.

With Garnett's age and Wilcox's injury-riddled past, which includes a heart ailment that cut his season short last year, Milicic's size will be useful.

Think of him as the poor man's Greg Stiemsma, who ironically is most likely going to replace Milicic in Minnesota.

Plus, barring multiple injuries, we're not talking about a guy who is going to play a ton of minutes. The Celtics could definitely do much worse for third-string centers.

Milicic wouldn't be the Celtics' most stellar signing and is most likely not a priority, so don't expect anything to happen immediately on that front.

With Garnett and Wilcox back in the fold, the center issue has mostly been augmented, but the Celtics can never have too many big men. It became clear during the Celtics' recent stint in the Orlando Pro Summer League that Fab Melo is a long-term project, an unrefined big man who has enormous potential but is not ready to contribute meaningful minutes.

While Milicic may himself be a project that never quite got off the ground, he's been able to stay in the league for nine seasons. That should at least count for something.