Thursday, September 20, 2012
Darko Milicic to sign with Celtics
By Chad Ford and Marc Stein
Free-agent center Darko Milicic has decided to stay in the NBA and continue his career with the Boston Celtics, Milicic's agent, Marc Cornstein, confirmed to ESPN.com.
Milicic, after weighing strong interest from teams abroad trying to lure him back to Europe -- such as perennial Spanish power Real Madrid -- has committed to join the Celtics and is scheduled to be in Boston by week's end to make the deal official.
Milicic, 27, spent the past two seasons with the Minnesota Timberwolves but was released in July via the amnesty clause with two seasons left on a four-year, $20 million contract signed with the Wolves in the summer of 2010.
The former No. 2 overall pick -- selected by the Detroit Pistons ahead of Carmelo Anthony, Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade in the 2003 NBA draft -- also played for Orlando, Memphis and New York before his Minnesota stint.
For all their depth along the perimeter, the Celtics are still a bit thin at center, with only the likes of Chris Wilcox (coming off of heart surgery) and Jason Collins in place to back up Kevin Garnett.
Milicic has career averages of 6.0 points and 4.2 rebounds in 467 games.
The Celtics on Thursday also announced that they waived guard Keyon Dooling, 32, after the 12-year NBA veteran informed the club he would be retiring in order to spend more time with his family.
Dooling's representative, Kenge Stevenson, said in a statement: "Keyon has decided that he has given the NBA twelve good years and that it's time to pursue other interests and spend more time with his family. He will never forget his time with the Boston Celtics."
In his only season in a Celtics uniform last year, Dooling emerged as a strong veteran presence in the locker room while overcoming early-season injuries and contributing to Boston's lengthy postseason run. He finished the season with averages of 4.0 points and 1.1 assists in 14.4 minutes. He was re-signed to a one-year veteran's minimum contract late in July.
"We'll miss Keyon's spirit and energy, both on and off the court," Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge said in a statement released by the team. "The whole Celtics family wishes him well as he enters the next phase of his life."
Over the course of his 12-year career, in addition for playing for Boston, Dooling suited up for the Los Angeles Clippers, Miami Heat, Orlando Magic, New Jersey Nets and the Milwaukee Bucks. He finished his career with averages of 7.0 points and 2.2 assists, having shot 34.9 percent from 3-point range.
Information from ESPNBoston.com's Greg Payne was used in this report.