Darko Milicic had a rather startling answer after practice this morning when Phil Miller asked him whether he'd return to the Timberwolves next season if the team guaranteed him a starting job and 30 to 35 minutes a game.
He said yes.
Now, he also said the team would have to make off-season moves that proves things are bound to get better. He was very clear this 0-4 road trip from which the team returned Saturday was truly miserable. He finished the trip with a 16-point, 12-rebound game Friday in L.A. He missed the final five minutes because of back spasms he attributed to conditioning issues.
But he also indicated the right environment where he can grow and develop as a player -- not money, destination or other factors -- is most important to him.
"I just want to play next year. I'm not trying to show people I deserve to be second pick. I just want to see the best I can be," Milicic said. "This is the best league in the world. I want to get a real chance."
It sounds like he still wants to live the NBA dream, but without having to live up to the expectations of the guy drafted ahead of Camelo Anthony, Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade.
He said he doubts any other NBA team would make him such a guarantee, so "if it doesn't happen here, it's not going to happen anywhere else. If I don't make a deal with these guys here, it's going to be in Europe. But who knows?"
Of course, the Wolves don't seem willing to guarantee Kevin Love a starting job and 30 to 35 minutes a game, so...
If Darko is your long-term starter, would that have to mean Love or Al Jefferson gets traded this summer? I can't see Love -- and certainly not Big Al -- being happy as a sixth man permanently.
Wonder what it will take to convince Darko that things will indeed get better here.
After Wednesday's loss at Utah, he said, "It's hard for me. It's the American way of thinking to play for yourself and to get better. I want to play for something and when you are losing by 20, it's a tough night. It has been bad for these guys and for me. I think guys are trying their best to just figure out a way."
David Kahn jetted off to Milwaukee with Kurt Rambis shortly after this morning's unusually early practice, in order to watch Evan Turner and Derrick Favors play in the Ohio State-Georgia Tech game (they also caught John Wall and DeMarcus Cousins play for Kentucky in New Orleans on Saturday). Kahn said from Milwaukee that "it's premature" to consider whether the Wolves would make Milicic any promises, but "I'm pleased to hear he's enjoying it here."