Post-game Reactions

We first heard of this Darko rumor during NBA Summer League back in July. It was reported that Boston had serious interest in the former second overall pick. Things cooled down over the past couple months on that front, with Milicic likely looking for a better deal after being amnestied by Minnesota.

With training camp approaching, as well as Kenyon Martin turning down an offer from the C’s for the minimum last week, Danny Ainge has turned again to the next viable big-man option on the market. Darko, seeing no other promising NBA offers of note out there (with a chance of real playing time) appears to have settled on Boston.

Hoopsworld had the initial report last night after picking up an overseas article lauding Boston as the favorites to land the former Timberwolves center. A. Sherrod Blakely of CSNNE.com was able to confirm the report on the Celtics end:

Assuming this deal is a veteran’s minimum contract (the Celtics still have the bi-annual exception, but I would be shocked and perplexed if they used it on Milicic here) you can’t really be disappointed by this signing if you’re a C’s fan.

Like it or not, heading into today the Celtics’ reserve frontcourt consisted of a player coming off major heart surgery (Chris Wilcox), one undersized power forward with a high injury risk (Jared Sullinger), a rookie big man who might be able to help this team consistently for a couple years (Fab Melo) and a guy who can defend big centers and that’s about it (Jason Collins).

No matter how you slice it, that’s a group that could use some additional insurance. Jeff Green will likely see some time at the four-spot as well (although not too much I hope) but with Andrew Bynum, Tyson Chandler, Marcus Camby, Andrea Bargnani, and Brook Lopez matching up with the C’s four times each this season from the Atlantic Division alone, shoring up the necessary reinforcements to keep the onus off Kevin Garnett’s minutes against that crew is pivotal.

Wilcox and Sullinger are the top candidates to get those backup minutes, but if either of them (or the starters) go down, relying on Collins and Melo for regular minutes would be a daunting proposition. That’s why the C’s needed another big, and especially another useful rebounder since Collins and Melo are extremely subpar on the defensive glass.

Will this end well? That remains to be seen. We’ll take a closer look at Darko’s skills tomorrow to see how he could help Boston despite being a chronic underachiever for the duration of his NBA career. He can rebound and is 7-feet tall so that is a start in itself. Assuming Darko’s deal is guaranteed, this puts the C’s training camp roster closer to 20 players overall and the roster crunch for that final 15th spot will be extremely tight.

As of now, unless Darko or one of the other bigs (Collins, Wilcox) get cut after camp, there is room for just one of the trio of Dionte Christmas, Kris Joseph or Jamar Smith on the roster, unless one beats out Keyon Dooling for a spot (possible but not probable.) With such little space available, competition during training camp just got kicked up an extra notch.

Much more to come on this later today….


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Brian Robb

Brian Robb co-founded CelticsHub in 2009 and is the currently editor-in-chief. He is a producer and reporter at 98.5 The Sports Hub in Boston and also contributes to Boston.com and Bleacher Report among other outlets.
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  • W2.

    I feel like this is another one of Danny's Let Us Take A Flyer On Him kind of moves (see JO, Shaq, Ryan Hollins, Starbury, Sam Cassel, Toine PT II). Low risk…..moderate reward. He is 27 and should at least have some fresh legs and 6 fouls to give. I wonder if Melo is looking lost or if this is completely independent of his situation.

    • CWG

      This is actually, I feel, a very good signing. I wouldn't classify it as a flyer as it helps add depth and puts people back in their natural positions and if he starts, which i think he should, would add defense at the start of games for the C's. His 2010/2011 season was pretty good before Mirotic beat him out the next year.

      1st unit – Rondo, Lee, Pierce, Garnett, and Darko (to matchup against above mentioned bigs)

      2nd Unit – Terry, Bradley, Green, Bass, Wilcox

      3rd Unit – Dooling, Christmas, Joseph, Sullinger, Melo

      • W2.

        I think that Wilcox has proven to be a better pro than Darko. I think it very unlikely that Darko starts. What kind of message would that send to Bassy who is a far superior NBA player and has at least earn the opportunity to be a starter? Darko being pretty good in 2010/2011 is generous. Though with all that being said, I think this is low risk (might even really motivate Fab/Wilcox/Sully by making them fight for minutes).

  • Aaron

    I'm torn on this. I really like both Christmas and Joseph. Of course, I can see the value of another 7-footer, and Darko is definitely a step up from Collins. Wilcox is a better field goal and free throw shooter (possibly a better rebounder), but Darko is a better shot blocker. I am very interested to see what happens once training camp begins.

  • DeVelaine

    Ugh… I liked this team before this signing, and now I'm worried about it. I mean, there's a reason he's underachieving, and I'm sure it has more to do with overvaluing him as a player instead of him actually "not trying." Granted, you can't teach big, but I have a feeling this is going to be one of those "shoot yourself in the foot" moves and I can't shake that thought.

    • CG12

      Are you seriously downgrading this team from "like" to "worried" solely because they signed Darko Milicic to be its third string center? Either it works and he plays ahead of Collins and Melo in most circumstances to give KG a couple minutes rest against big centers, or it doesn't and they cut him and move on, no worse off.

  • Ryan DeGama

    Guys, the important thing to keep in mind is KG + Darko = comedy.

    • High Rollers

      Good call, Ryan. Not to mention, underachievers don't last long on this team anyway. Who knows, maybe KG will inspire him. Be inspired or go home.

    • CG12

      Seriously. Isn't there some KG v. Darko footage out there. I have a vague memory of them getting into it at some point. And if they didn't, they should have. He is just the kind of guy KG loves to pick on.

  • Phil

    Teams wasting roster spots on useless and terrible players only because they're seven feet tall is a major pet peeve of mine. So you can imagine how thrilled I am to have three players on the roster with the combined skills of Jason Collins.

    Waste of a roster spot that I'd rather them waste on a late 2nd rounder who won't pan out.

    • High Rollers

      If Danny wasn't going to pass up on Jared "Top Ten Talent" Sullinger, then he certainly wasn't going to let the chance go by to pick up a #2 pick of yore for the vet's minimum. Especially with K-Mart shopping elsewhere.

      And sometimes laughter IS the best medicine.

      The 2nd rounder will simply find some development in the D-League, and we'll pick him up later.

    • Marc

      Isn't it a waste of a roster spot either way?

      Darko would currently sit as the 13th or 14th man, so what is the harm? The Celtics apparently will have him at the vet's minimum, so if he doesn't fit in training camp, they can always cut him. I'd hesitate slightly if he gets a spot over Christmas or Joseph, but let's not kid ourselves. They may be good small-minute contributors, but their ceilings are limited.

      Point being, this move gives them another forward at the lowest possible cost. If he contributes? Great. If not? Move on with what is already a formidable roster.

  • 2p2d

    Classic token white guy signing.

  • Batman

    I'm really disappointed Kris probably won't make the roster. I loved him at Syracuse
    As for Darko, meh. 7 Feet

    • DeVelaine

      May still happen. Dooling has been waived, and it looks like it may have been at his own request.

      • Batman

        Yeah I just heard. I'll really miss Dooling too. Injuries derailed his time here, but he was the definition of class
        But now I can enjoy Kris being on the team (As long as Christmas and Smith don't somehow get him cut)

  • High Rollers

    Good luck, Keyon. Flex on.

  • I_Love_Green

    1 year for the vets minimum is all I'd be willing to give him. We get a big body, and added depth. Not thrilled on the move, but not upset about it either.

    As for Keyon though, thank you for your time and wise words. The effect you had on the team was much much more than just the box score.

    Good luck Reverend Dooling.

  • swissflix

    Darko? Hell no. Not good. I'd rather take Kmart in that case. Dorko does not do ANYTHING on the court.