Originally posted on NESN.com  |  Last updated 11/20/12
WALTHAM, Mass. — Doc Rivers saw a change in Darko Milicic a few weeks ago, almost as soon as the veteran center found out that his mother was ill. It was one thing for Milicic to deal with some professional setbacks with the Celtics, having played a grand total of five minutes all season. Adding personal angst made it even tougher. “His mom’s sick, he’s not playing, the homesickness, it happens,” the Celtics coach said on Tuesday. “I didn’t fight him much. I told him he’s got to do what he thinks is right and I’m going to support him one way or the other. But it’s been going on for a little bit now.” Milicic opted to return to Europe to be with his mother, raising the possibility that this could be the end of the road for the former No. 2 overall draft pick not just with the Celtics, but with the NBA itself. Rivers did not discourage that line of thinking when he was asked if Milicic plans to return to Boston. “It doesn’t look like it,” Rivers said. If Milicic indeed is finished, it would bring to an end one of the most discouraging careers in NBA history. Billed as a can’t-miss prospect as an 18-year-old out of Serbia, Milicic was chosen second in the 2003 NBA draft — after LeBron James but before Carmelo Anthony, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh, as well as future All-Star David West, future Sixth Man of the Year Leandro Barbosa and several other players who went on to productive professional careers. Milicic hardly got off the bench as a rookie with the Pistons, who went on to win the NBA championship by beating the Los Angeles Lakers in five games. In 10 seasons, Milicic averaged 6.0 points, 4.2 rebounds and 1.3 blocks per game with the Pistons, Magic, Grizzlies, Knicks, Timberwolves and Celtics. Within moments of the news breaking on Monday that Milicic would leave the team, Celtics fans on Twitter began clamoring for team president of basketball operations Danny Ainge to sign Kenyon Martin. Martin, who turns 35 years old on Dec. 30, appeared in 42 games last season with the Los Angeles Clippers but is currently unsigned. The Celtics have no quick moves in the works, however. “No rush,” Rivers said. “I can tell you we’re in no rush.” Milicic did not get much of a chance to contribute to the Celtics this season, but hopefully that does not keep Boston fans from wishing him and his mother the best. Some things are more important than basketball. Have a question for Ben Watanabe? Send it to him via Twitter at @BenjeeBallgame or send it here. Photo via Facebook/Darko Milicic
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Greg Jennings: Ryan Tannehill has had his hands tied by coaches

Josh McDaniels 'happy' with Pats but wants to be a head coach again

WATCH: Jim Harbaugh in cleats throws out first pitch at Cubs game

Why Rickie Fowler will win the PGA Championship

Warren Sapp bitten on arm by shark

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Fitzpatrick, Jets agree to one-year deal

Baker considering removing Papelbon from closer role?

Greg Hardy struggling to find work, reportedly even in CFL

Jets players told not to discuss Ryan Fitzpatrick situation

Brock Lesnar won't be punished by WWE for UFC drug test

Report: Cowboys to be fined up to $250K for suspended players

Report: Ravens WR Mike Wallace failed conditioning test

WATCH: Kobe Bryant drives Ferrari around Italian racetrack

Terrelle Pryor shouts out Ohio State after ban ends

Justin Timberlake advocates for Memphis to join Big 12

Poll: Las Vegas residents don’t support public funds for NFL stadium

Conor McGregor talks trash to Nate Diaz on ‘Conan’

We asked Team USA: What other Olympic sport would you play?

Real Madrid can’t train at Norwegian school because of the kids

Newspaper uses Michael Jordan ‘crying face’ as image

Equipment manager Blake Griffin punched no longer works for Clippers

Report: Nicks signing one-year deal with Saints

Reds 'picking up the pace' on Jay Bruce trade talks

NBA News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

We asked Team USA: What other Olympic sport would you play?

Why Gary Bettman's CTE denial is cause for concern for NHL

WATCH: Inside the Nike SNKRS BOX in SF for Golden Air Celebration

WATCH: Five other uniforms Chris Sale should cut up

QUIZ: Name every Olympic event in which the USA has never won a gold medal

Five U.S. Olympians favored to win multiple gold medals

WATCH: What teams should join the Big 12?

One Gotta Go: Do NBA players really love NBA2K?

One Gotta Go: NBA players hate Facebook too

One Gotta Go: NBA players settle the fast food beef

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker