Celtics Add Darko Milicic, Lose Keyon Dooling to Retirement

Keyon Dooling helped lead the Boston Celtics to the Eastern Conference finals in 2011-’12.

The Boston Celtics added to their frontcourt depth by signing Darko Milicic to a one-year contract. A league source told A. Sherrod Blakely the deal is for the veteran minimum.

Milicic is a 27-year-old reserve center who can provide the Celtics with solid defense. He has limited offensive skills. The 7-footer was the No. 2 overall pick by the Detroit Pistons in the 2003 NBA Draft when he was chosen ahead of Carmelo Anthony, Chris Bosh, and Dwyane Wade. He has not met the expectations when he entered the league.  Milicic has also played for the Orlando Magic, Memphis Grizzlies, New York Knicks, and Minnesota Timberwolves in addition to the Pistons. Last season, Milicic averaged 4.6 points and 3.3 rebounds in 16.3 minutes per game in 2011-’12 for the Timberwolves. The nine-year veteran will battle with Chris Wilcox, Jared Sullinger, and Jason Collins for playing time. Kevin Garnett and Brandon Bass are expected to be in the starting lineup.

With the Celtics, Milicic finally has a chance to display his potential. The Celtics are filled with veterans and Milicic has size. He can run the floor, finish around the basket, and become a defensive interior presence where he can block shots as well as play physical. Milicic is definitely an upgrade over Greg Stiemsma, who signed with the Timberwolves in the off-season because he is more experienced and bigger than Stiemsma.  Now, Milicic will get to learn from Garnett and Doc Rivers.

This signing gave the Celtics fourteen players under contract until Keyon Dooling retired later on Thursday.

Dooling provided leadership in the backcourt when he became a mentor for Rajon Rondo last year.  He played 12 seasons in the NBA where he also served as a member of the executive committee in the NBA Players Association. The 6-foot, 3-inch guard agreed to a one-year contract for the veteran minimum in July, but he wants to spend time with his family. Dooling was the No. 10 selection in the 2001 Draft by the  Magic and he was shipped to the Los Angeles Clippers on draft night. He played for five other organizations along with the Clippers  (Miami Heat, Magic, New Jersey Nets, Milwaukee Bucks, and Celtics). The veteran shot 34.9% from beyond the three-point line for his career. The Celtics will pursue bringing in another backup guard to compete for a roster spot when training camp starts next week.


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