Storyline: Whatever Happened to Darko Milicic

19 rumors in this storyline

Darko Milicic will be back into action next season in the Second Division of the Serbian league, as basketballsphere.com reports. Milicic, now 34, stopped playing in 2012, after a short run with the Boston Celtics in the NBA, but as it seems his retirement wasn’t definite just yet! The team “I came to play” started as a project featuring former national team players and aims to assist the city of Novi Sad and the American Embassy.

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2 years ago via ESPN

“You know, I once wrote a story about Frederic Weis,” I say, bringing up another basketball catastrophe from Europe — this one French instead of Serbian — who was drafted by the New York Knicks in 1999 but never played a game for them. Darko’s face perks up. He remembers Weis. “What was he like?” “He was sad and depressed,” I say. “He had a lot of other issues going on, too, with his wife and his son, but he still seemed pretty angry about how everything turned out and he was angry at life, and I guess it was under-the-surface angry, but angry.” I’m babbling. “Actually, Weis tried to kill himself once,” I blurt out. Darko doesn’t flinch. “Really?” “Yeah.”
2 years ago via ESPN

The worst was in Memphis. Darko’s wife, Zorana, who was living with him then, calls that his “crisis period.” The team was losing. Darko was infuriated. And the walls in that apartment looked like cottage cheese, a mess of bubbly bumps and curds. The sequence was familiar: He would come in, hammer on the walls and go to sleep. In most cities, he came to know the local contractors who could run over, throw some putty up and do a quick cover-up job with whatever paint they had handy. “You know you have exactly white, and then the other white, and then gray?” Darko says of his patchy walls. “That was my house.”
2 years ago via ESPN

But Rivers liked Darko, liked having him in practice. So he welcomed Darko into his office and listened as Darko told him he had come to say goodbye. “In the center position, if something goes bad for the team, you have [Jason] Collins, you have [Fab] Melo,” Darko said. “So I’m packed and going home.” Darko recalls Rivers being stunned. “Darko, what are you talking about? Where are you going? You are going to play tonight.” Darko was unbowed. “Doc, that’s it. I’m not playing tonight, I’m not playing ever again. “Thank you guys for trying. It didn’t go well. I’m out.”

“My approach was completely different, as a No. 2 pick coming from Europe. I thought I was sent by God. So I got into fights, got drunk before practices, spiting everyone, while in the end I was spiting myself.” Milicic, drafted ahead of Carmelo Anthony, Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade, averaged 1.6 points and 1.2 rebounds in 96 games with the Pistons. He went on to play seven more seasons in the NBA, with stops in Orlando, Memphis, New York, Minnesota and Minnesota.

Darko’s here again. He conducted an interview with Serbian news website B92.net, portions of which were translated by the fine folks at r/NBA, and he sounded like a man more comfortable in his skin. Milicic discussed each of his NBA stops with the sort of honesty you’d expect from the 7-foot Serbian. “I’d do a lot of things differently now. It’s true I ended up on a team trying to win a ring, which rarely happens to a No. 2 pick, but in the end we’re all looking for excuses. I could say I didn’t get a proper chance, but that’s simply an excuse; it’s up to a young player to prove himself, work hard and wait for his chance. My approach was completely different. As a No. 2 pick coming from Europe, I thought I was sent by God, so I got into fights, got drunk before practices, spiting everyone, but I was spiting myself.

How is Darko doing now? Inquiring minds would sure like to know. “I’ve gained 90 pounds since I stopped playing,” he said. “I’m at 350 right now. I’m working at my farm and enjoying that kind of production. I take walks through my fields and watch the process, which makes me really happy. I’m still pretty inexperienced at this, so I like to learn, seek guidance, go to seminars. I’ve created my own peace of mind, and I’m enjoying it. There are always problems like in any other field of work, but I’d rather do this than build skyscrapers in the city, because I’d end up shooting myself. I think this is the most positive story of them all – food production and food in general is the future in every sense.”

“I met with [then-Wolves GM] David Kahn and told him: ‘Don’t trade for me for the love of God. I don’t want to play in the NBA anymore. I’ll ruin your team. I’ll f*** up the team chemistry. Do not trade for me. When it’s not working it’s not working.’ He told me to join them for two weeks, and if I’m not feeling it I’m free to leave. My first year there actually went great. “My experience in the NBA was a catastrophe, because I’m a born winner. I don’t like losing, even in card games.
4 years ago via Blic

Darko Milicic: “Their system is cruel and I don’t like it. If a young player doesn’t succeed, they don’t look after him. That sucks. You have players who are first or second in the draft that get a chance to play. I didnt get the chance. LBJ is a killer now, but he did get a chance in his first year, he could shoot from the stands if he wanted. I barely got the chance. I had that situation in Orlando where if I shoot from perimeter, my coach Hill would yell, “Pass to Howard.” In Detroit nothing went right. Larry Brown always told me to go near the basket. They offered me a $40 million, four-year contract in Orlando, and then their manager blows it off, out of nowehere. My manager told me he would deal with it. I said OK, but just not Memphis. Anywhere but there. And, of course, I went to Memphis. Then I got injured, didn’t play much.
4 years ago via Blic

Darko Milicic: “I wanted to go back to Europe but then the Minnesota offer came. I tried to talk them out of of signing me, I said I won’t practice, I will make trouble in the locker room but they were persistent. They told me give it two weeks, if it doesn’t work you can go. I accepted, it was nice and I played but we didn’t win. Rambis was fired and after Adelman came I realized it’s not gonna work. Pekovic started playing well, and I thought, “Never mind, I’ll come off the bench.” But it just didn’t work. And then I just quit.

Former NBA center Darko Milicic, a 7-foot Serb who spent 10 years with various teams after being the second overall pick in the 2003 draft behind LeBron James, has lost his first kickboxing fight. The 29-year-old Milicic sustained a bloody cut on his left leg in the first round of an exhibition match Thursday night against Serbian fighter Radovan Radojcic. The World Kickboxing Association bout had to be stopped in the second round on doctor’s orders. “The next time, it will be better,” Milicic said. “I’m invincible.”
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November 13, 2019 | 5:03 pm UTC Update
Memphis plans to wait on a buyout with Iguodala until February’s trade deadline. The Grizzlies are still holding out hope that a trade can be worked out and have been holding firm on their asking price of a first-round pick. If not, Iguodala will be cut loose from Memphis and free to sign with whomever he chooses—around the league, that’s expected to be the Lakers.
Storyline: Andre Iguodala Buyout?
But there are still teams in the mix. All, according to speculation from league executives, are in the Western Conference. “He’s got more value in the West,” one GM told Heavy.com. “I can’t see a team in the East moving for him. He has the experience guarding LeBron and that’s what you want out of him. That and you want to keep him off the Lakers, you want their bench to be a weak spot. He doesn’t have those same kinds of good matchups in the East. You don’t want to put him on Giannis (Antetokounmpo) in a seven-game series, for sure.”
But the Grizzlies have yet to show interest in that deal and whether the Mavs would revisit the offer is a question. Sources indicate that the Mavs’ intent as the season progresses is to hunt for a piece with the trade exception they hold from the Harrison Barnes deal, worth $11.7 million. The Mavs can take on a player with a contract less than that value without giving up anything in return.
The Milwaukee Bucks have assigned Thanasis Antetokounmpo and Dragan Bender to the Wisconsin Herd of the NBA G League. Antetokounmpo has appeared in one game for the Bucks this season while Bender has yet to play in a game for Milwaukee. Bender started the first two games of the season for the Herd and averaged 19.0 points, 6.5 points, 1.5 blocks, 1.0 assist and 1.0 steal in 29.9 minutes per game.
During an episode of ESPN’s “The Jump” on Tuesday, former Celtic Paul Pierce and longtime NBA reporter Jackie MacMullan touched on the difference in the team’s leadership. Specifically, the departure of Kyrie Irving and the arrival of Kemba Walker. “They got better leadership in there,” Pierce said. “Let’s just call it how it is.”
After ESPN reporter Rachel Nichols — the show’s host — offered a clarification that the leadership was simply “different,” Pierce jumped back in. “It’s better,” reiterated Pierce. “Kemba, he’s known throughout the league as being a great leader. I mean, he played on losing teams, he stayed positive. He went out and played hard every night, and that can be infectious. That can be the difference between losing and winning and chemistry. That’s what he’s brought to the Celtics.”
The entire article was brief, straightforward and, yet, extremely bold. Silver was the first acting commissioner of a major U.S. sports league to come out in support of legalized sports betting. In 437 words, he pivoted the NBA’s long-held public opposition to sports betting and ignited a discussion about a taboo subject for all professional leagues. “I think it was ground-breaking,” Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban said of Silver’s op-ed in an email to ESPN. “Leagues for decades were hypocritical about gaming, pretending it doesn’t exist. Adam ended that hypocrisy.”
Behind the scenes, though, the leagues were studying the issue, preparing for the day when more states would offer sports betting. Former NBA commissioner David Stern believes Silver’s op-ed had an enormous impact on the other leagues’ approaches to the issue and was very influential overall in the movement toward expanded legal sports betting. “It indicated that the horse was about to leave the barn and it would be smart to jump on your own horse and follow along,” Stern said. “And they did.” “It was critical,” added Cuban. “Prior, those in favor of gaming expected pro sports to fight back. With the hypocrisy gone, the legal steps could move forward.”
Leonsis was on the forefront of the league’s shift on betting and was one of the owners Silver consulted with on the op-ed. “My notion was what are we afraid of, when we know all this money is being spent offshore [with bookmakers] in an unregulated, untaxed and unmindful way?” Leonsis said in a phone interview Tuesday. Today, the professional leagues’ opposition to sports betting has vanished. Their focus now is on how to monetize the growing regulated industry through data and fees based on the amount wagered on the games.
November 13, 2019 | 3:54 pm UTC Update
Through their first nine games, James had assisted Davis on 26 baskets, 10 more than any other teammate, per ESPN Stats & Information research. Compare that to his first nine games with Bosh, when it was 17 assists, and his first nine with Love, which produced only 11. Their pick-and-rolls have resulted in the highlight dunks that fans love and a schematic nightmare for opposing coaches. And even though they sometimes are caught a little out of position, there’s a natural flow that’s easy to see. “I think that’s part of [LeBron’s] genius that he’s able to morph into whatever he needs to be, to bring out the best out of the other players,” said Heat coach Erik Spoelstra, whose team faced the Lakers last week. “His connection with [Bosh] was pretty natural, and I think this is, this just fits like a glove. … When both guys want to do it, commit to the process of getting better with it, you’re just going to see that improve dramatically as the season goes on.”
Storyline: LeBron-Davis Dynamic
Amid the ongoing debate about resting players in the NBA, count Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban among those openly willing to support load management. “The problem isn’t load management, per se,” Cuban told reporters in Boston on Monday. “I think teams have to be smarter about when to load manage. I’m all for load management. Worse than missing a player in a [regular-season] game is missing him in the playoffs.”
1 hour ago via ESPN
“He had a tough couple of weeks before training camp,” Dunn said. “Most people, when I get at them and I see fear, they’re done. They’re outta there.” But White didn’t budge. He showed no fear, no quit. He refused to back down. He just kept coming. “Training camp came and he turned it on,” Dunn said. “That showed he’s still learning, but he’s going to bring it. He’s going to keep bringing it. He kept the same intensity. He kept the same energy. And I love it.”
Though some of the feelings were foreign to him, he could recognize them as a threat to his well-being. “That kills more dreams, careers, on and off the court, basketball-related and just (in) regular life,” Brown says. “As soon as you start not believing in yourself, it’s over. So I had to quiet that voice that was in the back of my head. Everybody has it. It’s not something that, like, just Jaylen has been through it. I think everybody on this planet probably has that voice in the back of their head telling them to stop or to quit or not to keep going. And that voice had been louder last year than it had ever been. So I had to make sure to quiet that fucking voice because it was pissing me off.”
He found the best response was sometimes to detach from a situation, even if others did not always understand the tactic. He wasn’t doing it out of a lack of care, he says, but because he needed to preserve his positive energy and keep moving in the right direction. While he says he didn’t lean much on others for advice, his grandfather recommended a number of helpful books. “A lot of it had to do with astrology and stuff like that,” Brown says. “Finding out what you’re made of. I had to remind myself of who I was. That was good for me.”
Brown has a bigger role again. Head coach Brad Stevens inserted him into the starting lineup from Day 1. Through nine games, the Celtics lead the NBA with an 8-1 record and a plus-9.5 net rating. Brown is averaging 19.8 points and 7.2 rebounds per game on 53 percent shooting. Those marks would all establish career highs. He has lived near the rim so far — which he called a conscious decision — but he does not want to pigeonhole himself into a slashing style. If teams start backing up, he says, he may need to start lacing 3-pointers again. “The media or analytics, they always try to put you in a box and say this is the type of player he is or this is the type of player,” Brown says. “I don’t think anybody knows what type of player I am. I can try to continue to grow and get better. In two years I might be improved at anything just because I work on my game that way.”
November 13, 2019 | 8:14 am UTC Update

Knicks players back David Fizdale

Despite their frustrations following the loss at Chicago — one in which they turned the ball over 18 times and were outscored 52-46 in the paint — Knicks players were still adamant in their support of the second-year coach. “We’ve got 9-10 new guys? We’ve got 10 guys that have not played together at all and me who hasn’t even been in the league yet,” said rookie RJ Barrett. “You’re gonna have some challenges, but you’ve got to keep pushing, keep pushing through everything. That’s all I can really say. You’ve just got to stay together. “He’s up to the challenge. We believe in him,” he continued. “We’re staying together, and like we said, we’re all-in with him and are just gonna keep fighting together.”
9 hours ago via ESPN
This rumor is part of a storyline: 20 more rumors
Knicks owner James Dolan spoke with team president Steve Mills and others in management on Monday, the day after Mills and GM Scott Perry held an impromptu press conference to express their frustration with the Knicks. Dolan speaks with Mills and other top decision-makers regularly, just as most NBA owners do, but this conversation seemed to carry a little more weight. Sources familiar with the conversation told SNY that management came away with the impression that their jobs would be secure as long as the Knicks ‘showed progress’ this season.
Stadium: NBA Insider @ShamsCharania reports Dion Waiters will return to the Heat when his 10-game team suspension ends after “gummy” incident. “There isn’t a buyout on the horizon … he has to get back into the good graces of the organization”

The Houston Rockets made the signing-and-trading for veteran Chris Paul in the summer of 2017 the landmark move of their offseason, but the All-Star floor general only experienced two seasons in Clutch City before being quickly shipped off again on his career. Speaking to comedian and actor Kevin Hart on his cold tub show that we all knew existed before this moment, the 34-year-old Paul called his 2019 offseason trade to the Oklahoma City Thunder a “stab” in the back (via Dan Feldman of NBC Sports). Hart: Do you feel like there’s been times where, “Damn, that’s a little eye-opening. I got stabbed in the back”? Paul: Absolutely. This last situation was one of them. The GM there in Houston, he don’t owe me nothing. You know what I mean? He may tell me one thing but do another thing. But you just understand that that’s what it is.
David Levy is resigning as chief executive officer of the Brooklyn Nets and Barclays Center, abruptly walking away from the fast-growing sports operation owned by Alibaba Group billionaire Joe Tsai. Levy, a 33-year veteran of Turner Broadcasting, was named to the CEO job less than two months ago. Oliver Weisberg, head of J Tsai Sports, will now take over as interim Nets chief.
Storyline: Nets Front Office
Turkish NBA player Enes Kanter, a vocal critic of Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan, teamed up with two Democratic U.S. senators on Tuesday as they introduced a bill to condemn the alleged violation of human rights in Turkey. As Erdogan arrived in the United States for a White House meeting on Wednesday with U.S. President Donald Trump, Senators Edward Markey and Ron Wyden held up Kanter as a victim of the Turkish government’s targeting of political rivals.
November 13, 2019 | 3:01 am UTC Update
November 13, 2019 | 2:40 am UTC Update
Atlanta’s training staff wanted him to take accountability and ask for help, but he was too stubborn. The NBA lifestyle had messed with his priorities. Instead of focusing on his diet and cracking the rotation, Spellman did favors for friends and hobnobbed with celebrities. Today, he calls that dark period a “time of self-sabotage.” And injuries only worsened his depression. A hip issue, likely the result of his rapid weight gain, sidelined Spellman for seven games last winter. In early March, a high ankle sprain ended his season.
Those closest to him have seen a changed man. After slogging through a year-long depression, Spellman is finally finding reasons to smile again. “I have a great opportunity with the Golden State Warriors,” said Spellman, who had his third-year option of $2 million picked up two weeks ago. “They’re helping me every day. I’m losing more and more weight, and I can really get to whatever point they want me at. I know what I need to do.”
November 13, 2019 | 2:22 am UTC Update