Darko Milicic is leaning strongly toward leaving the Boston Celtics for the season and returning to Europe to be with his ill mother, league sources told Yahoo! Sports.
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, Milicic has also been frustrated with his lack of a role with the Celtics, sources said.
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. Milicic had been productive in the preseason, but has fallen behind Jason Collins in the Celtics' rotation.
The Celtics had considered signing free-agent forward Kenyon Martin this offseason, but ultimately chose Collins, Chris Wilcox and Milicic over him. Some Celtics' veterans have been pushing for the team to sign Martin.
Boston hasn't completely ruled out an eventual conversation with Martin about a role on the team, but the most likely scenario would be for the Celtics to hold onto the roster spot and see who else might become available in the next couple of months.
The Celtics have several similar forward-types to Martin, and would likely try to exhaust all possibilities among backup centers.
"If someone calls me tomorrow, I don't care who it is, whether it's losing or winning at this point," Martin told Yahoo! Sports' Marc Spears earlier this month. "If someone calls me tomorrow and wants me to come in, I'm going. Guys are going down and [teams] are like, 'Well, we are going to stick with what we got.' I'm like, 'Really?' I started questioning myself, 'Am I that bad of a guy?' "
Personally I hope Darko decides to stay in Boston. He's the best center option on the roster after KG. The wrist injury sucked, because prior to that I totally saw Darko in the rotation. I can understand Darko wanting to leave if he took less to come to Boston and he's getting no playing time. Hopefully Danny and Doc can convince him and his agent that his time will come.
Martin isn't a center, but could help. I would not be surprised at all if Boston signed him if Darko left. Another option would be to sign a legitimate back-up point guard, so Rondo doesn't have to play 40 minutes a night, but that would create playing time issues with all our combo guards, so I doubt that happens. Martin looks like the most likely option.