Roberto Serra/Iguana Press
#20 wasn't the only free agent who had a choice between the Garden and South Beach. Darko Milicic was also courted by Pat Riley, but Darko opted for a "role" in Doc's rotation rather than a spot at the end of Spoelstra's bench.
Four months ago, if you told me that Ray Allen wouldn't accept a role on the Celtics but Darko Milicic would, I wouldn't believe you, but that seems to be the case. Rob Bradford at WEEI.com has the story:
"They were interested but they had guys they had before, big guys. It wasn't something I was looking for, especially signing the minimum contract," said Milic, who inked a one-year deal with the Celtics. "I was trying to find somebody who really needed me in some way. My agent told me they were interested, but they were interested just to have me on the bench. I would have been the last guy on the bench. If one of the big guys got some foul trouble I would go in and fight some of those guys. That would be my job. Traveling all the way from Serbia, bringing my kids, that's not me, that's not what I wanted to do.
"In the last second Boston came out, which I was surprised about. They were really serious about me. I know I'm a minimum player right now, but that doesn't really matter. I'm going to do help these guys, whatever I need to do to bring a title back here. Whatever they tell me to do. If they tell me to fight that guy, I'll go fight that guy. Just help them in some way, whatever way it is. I know Miami is a good team and a champion, but Boston has a history. You can't say no to Boston."
I'm not going to tell Riley how to do his job, but maybe if he had put in a call to Stern and figured out a way to offer Darko half of the veteran minimum and told him that he'd be traded by January, the big man could have been enticed to join the Heat.