Jerry Zgoda missed the entire Kevin Garnett era, but he's back covering the Timberwolves after working the beat for their first four seasons two decades ago. In between, he covered a bit of everything: Gopher men's and women's basketball and NCAA athletics, golf, outdoor recreation, sports media and a little Vikings and Twins.

Darko agrees to new deal

Posted by: Jerry Zgoda under Wolves players, Wolves news Updated: July 1, 2010 - 5:09 PM

That didn't take long.

Less than 12 hours after the NBA's free agency began, the Wolves followed last night's agreement with European prospect Nikola Pekovic by agreeing to terms with Darko Milicic on  a contract.

ESPN.com's Chad Ford is reporting a four-year, $20 million deal, with the final year partially guaranteed.

Darko's agent, Marc Cornstein, called his client "extremely excited this is in place."

"Darko wanted to be there," Cornstein said. "He felt like this is home from the moment he got there. Kurt Rambis has been fantastic for him. He's resurrected his career. He has genuine belief in Darko as a player and a person."

Five months ago, Milicic's NBA career looked like a complete bust after seven seasons. The second overall pick in the 2003 draft, he planned on heading home for good after the season, or whenever he could get free from the New York Knicks, which happened when they traded him to the Wolves at the trading deadline for Brian Cardinal's expiring contract.

"If you had told me in the middle of February, we'd be at this stage July 1st, well, it's really remarkable," Cornstein said. "I've said for a long time that the team that showed belief in Darko will be rewarded enormously. They stepped up and proved it with action."

The Wolves did so by moving Milicic into the starting lineup for 18 of the 24 games he played for them.

They did so in June when Rambis and David Kahn traveled to Milicic's home in Serbia while they were on a European scouting trip that led to Pekovic joining the team for next season.

"What happened in Serbia was a reaffirmation how important he was to them," Cornstein said. "To have the GM and head coach travel to his home, which is not exactly around the corner from Minneapolis, and share a meal,  that spoke volumes."

Milicic freely admitted he was not in shape for those 24 games he played, not after he hadn't played for three months for the Knicks.

"He'll show up in great shape," Cornstein said. "Now he has something to prove, which he is anxious to do. Now we have this behind us. They wanted him back and he wanted to be here. We both realized this is something we should do sooner rather than later. They were fair and generous and we tried to be fair and generous."

 

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