What appeared to be just a short personal absence last night in Detroit may turn out to be much more for Celtics’ center Darko Milicic as according to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports, the big man is considering leaving the C’s for good to tend to his ill mother in Europe.
Milicic, the No. 2 overall pick in the famed 2003 NBA Draft, didn’t travel with the Celtics to Detroit this weekend, and sources say that he’s close to deciding to leave the NBA for the season to be with his ill mother in Serbia. After failing to play since opening night, After failing to play since opening night, Milicic has also been frustrated with his lack of a role with the Celtics, sources said.
If Milicic, 27, leaves the Celtics less than a month into his one-year contract, it could ultimately spell the end of a disappointing NBA career that has included stops in Detroit, Orlando, Memphis, Minnesota and briefly, Boston.
In recent years, Milcic has strongly considered a permanent return to Europe. Leaving the Celtics now could ultimately push him toward that phase of his career.
Boston coach Doc Rivers met with Milicic recently and told him to take time to make a decision on his family and future, sources said.
CH’s Analysis: An unfortunate situation for the seven-footer, who has played a mere five minutes for the C’s this year during an underwhelming stint in the home opener at the TD Garden. While we can only hope for the best for Darko, his mother and his family moving forward as he wrestles with a decision about being close to home, it’s hard to ignore that it’s been a tough few weeks for Milicic after a promising preseason in Boston. The center had battled with a wrist injury that slowed him down towards the end of the preseason schedule, but seemed poised to start the regular season in the rotation in front of Chris Wilcox, who missed all of the preseason with a back injury.
That scenario was short-lived however as Darko fell out of the rotation in mere moments after his ugly effort against Milwaukee and Wilcox has been arguably the biggest bright spot coming off Boston’s bench to this point, assuming a stranglehold on the backup center position. Even when Doc has looked further down the bench for rebounding and defensive help, like during Thursday night in Brooklyn, it was Jason Collins getting the call over the Serbian center, something that must have been tough for the former second overall pick to swallow.
While we probably won’t know for a few days if Darko’s exit from the C’s this year is imminent, there are a few things to keep in mind, if and when the C’s find a replacement for him on the 15-man roster. As Woj explains in his piece, there are already rumors swirling the C’s veterans are pushing for Kenyon Martin as a big-man roster addition. It’s early yet, so we’ll take a closer look at whether Martin would make sense as an additional piece in the days to come, but with the depth in the frontcourt at this juncture, I’d be surprised if Danny Ainge was looking to make a quick move here to fill the void. The possibility of keeping the spot open until roster buyouts in February and March may also be a possibility as well.
Either way, the Darko era may have ended sadly in Boston before it even got off the ground. CelticsHub will be at practice tomorrow covering the latest news on Milicic’s status with the team.