View Full Version : Milicic signs with Pistons

09-12-2003, 06:34 PM
The thing that pisses me off about the national basketball media, and I guess it also applys to the national media in general is ignorance.

I mean, Darko Milicic plays like Toni Kukoc? Are you serious? The only things similar are that they are tall, lefty and foreign. Other than that there games are not similar. Darko is a ferocious player, Toni is a finesse player. But oh well...what do I know?

Friday, September 12, 2003

Associated Press
AUBURN HILLS, Mich. -- Darko Milicic plays like Toni Kukoc. Detroit Pistons coach Larry Brown would prefer him to play more like Bill Russell.

There's a problem: Milicic doesn't know who Russell is.

"I keep reminding him, 'He blocked every shot and grabbed every rebound,'" Brown said with a smile.

Milicic, the No. 2 overall pick in June's NBA draft, signed a three-year contract worth about $11 million with the Pistons on Friday. The 7-foot, 245-pound Milicic, from Serbia and Montenegro, has played professionally in Europe since he was 14.

He settled a contract buyout with his Serbian team this month.

The club, Hemofarm Vrsac, claimed it had Milicic under contract through 2009 and filed a lawsuit in New York against Milicic's agent, Marc Cornstein. The club demanded at least $10 million.

"They just wanted to get the most they could get," Cornstein said. "That's capitalism, and that's just the way the system is set up now."

The Pistons earned the top seeding in the Eastern Conference playoffs last season and lost to New Jersey in the East finals. But Detroit desperately needs size and scoring up front alongside Ben Wallace, who became an All-Star with defense and rebounding.

The Pistons had Memphis' lottery pick in the draft thanks to a 1997 trade for Otis Thorpe.

"It's a very good day for us to get this young man locked up," Pistons president of basketball operations Joe Dumars said. "It's been quite a roller coaster this summer to get to this day, but it was well worth it. We feel that Darko has a great future here and that he is very fortunate to be coming into this situation.

"This kid is not really known around these parts that well. But as time goes on, and we're patient with him and don't throw him out there right away expecting the world from him, he's going to be fine."

The Pistons already are bracing for second-guessing next season because they expect some to wonder why Milicic isn't prominent in box scores and on highlights with fellow rookies LeBron James of the Cleveland Cavaliers and Carmelo Anthony of the Denver Nuggets.

James and Anthony are expected to start right away for poor teams and will be given the opportunity to score, and play through mistakes. Milicic will come off the bench, and he might not play more than 15 minutes because he is on a deep team.

"He's going to benefit from being in this situation," Brown said. "He will have veterans around him who will challenge him every day. People might yell for him to be out there, but he has to earn the right to play."