The Celtics have signed center Darko Milicic to a one-year contract, the Associated Press confirmed yesterday. A league source confirmed that the deal is for the veteran minimum.
Milicic was the No. 2 overall pick in the 2003 NBA Draft by the Detroit Pistons, chosen ahead of Carmelo Anthony, Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade. He has failed to live up to his billing, averaging 6.0 points and 4.2 rebounds over his career. The 7-footer averaged 4.6 points and 3.3 rebounds for Minnesota last season.
Milicic becomes the 14th player under contract on the Celtics roster. He adds to the team’s front court depth. The team struggled last season with rebounding, ranking 30th out of 30 NBA teams. After Kevin Garnett and Brandon Bass, Chris Wilcox, rookie Jared Sullinger, veteran center Jason Collins and Milicic will likely compete for playing time.
Wilcox performed well in his first season with the Celtics last year before being sidelined with an injury. Milicic and Sullinger have the chance to play valuable minutes. Jeff Green could also slide into the power forward role in some rotations.
Milicic is just 27 years old. His signing leaves one roster spot open for end-of-the-roster players with non-guaranteed contracts like Kris Joseph, Dionte Christmas and Jamar Smith.
Notes: The Celtics also announced that they have officially added Jay Larranaga to their coaching staff as an assistant coach. Larranaga comes from the Erie BayHawks of the NBA Development League. The 37-year-old Larranaga is the son of Jim Larranaga, head men’s basketball coach at the University of Miami.