ORLANDO FL - NOVEMBER 03: Marcin Gortat #13 of the Orlando Magic guards Darko Milicic #31 of the Minnesota Timberwolves during the game at Amway Arena on November 3 2010 in Orlando Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that by downloading and or using this Photograph user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)
The Minnesota Timberwolves will reportedly amnesty Darko Milicic to clear cap space this offseason, and for the former number two pick, could this be the end?
The Darko Milicic experiment in Minnesota will likely end this summer, as reports indicate the Timberwolves will use the amnesty clause on the Serbian big man as they clear cap room to sign Portland Trail Blazers forward Nicolas Batum.
As ESPN's Ric Bucher reports, the Wolves will offer Batum a four-year deal that could be worth as much as $50 million, and to do it they'll need to clear cap room elsewhere. Enter Darko, the former No. 2 pick who was given a four-year, $20 million deal to join the T'Wolves in 2010. Milicic has $7 million guaranteed left on his deal, and would still receive that salary if the amnesty clause was used.
During Darko's first year in Minnesota he averaged almost nine points and six rebounds a game, but this past year he played in just 23 games and averaged under five points, all while the Wolves surged and Nikola Pekovic replaced him in the lineup. Minnesota was 45-129 with Milicic, and with Batum inserted on the roster in his place, that mark figures to get much better.
So for the Wolves, this is a step forward. For Milicic, drafted between LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony and one of the NBA Draft's most infamous busts, it's another strange twist in a career that's never really clicked. We don't know where he'll go from here, but it's hard to see him fielding much interest elsewhere in the NBA. On the bright side, for a player who's never really clicked in the NBA, that $7 million amnesty salary leaves him looking better off than most.
For more on the T'Wolves, check out SB Nation's Wolves blog, Canis Hoopus.