Milicic traded to Timberwolves
The New York Knicks traded Darko Milicic on Wednesday to the Minnesota Timberwolves, perhaps the former No. 2 overall pick's final stop before he returns to Europe.
The Timberwolves sent Brian Cardinal to New York and received cash considerations along with Milicic, who was unhappy with the Knicks and would have been waived had they not found a deal for him.
"He understandably was frustrated and he may feel that way now,'' David Kahn, Minnesota's president of basketball operations, said at halftime of the Timberwolves' game at Washington.
"I'm hopeful he clears his mind of that for the next couple of months,'' Kahn said.
The move provides some luxury tax savings for the Knicks, but more importantly opens a roster spot for more potential trades before Thursday's deadline if they waive Cardinal, as expected.
Milicic, a native of Montenegro, could return to Europe after this season, Kahn acknowledged.
"I hope he will give it one more shot,'' Kahn said. "Even if he ends up returning to Europe, I hope he wants to end his NBA career on a positive note. In our situation, he'll play.''
The 24-year-old Milicic was selected by the Detroit Pistons with the second overall pick in the 2003 draft, just behind LeBron James and ahead of Carmelo Anthony, Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade. He is heading to his fifth NBA team.
Milicic was acquired last year on draft night but quickly fell out of favor with coach Mike D'Antoni and has played in just eight games this season for the Knicks. He is averaging just 2.0 points and has not played since Nov. 13.
The Timberwolves entered Wednesday's game with a 13-41 record.
"There's a lot of enthusiasm among our coaches,'' Kahn said. "Let's see what he can bring.''
The 7-footer has averaged 5.4 points in 345 games with Detroit, Orlando, Memphis and New York.
The 32-year-old Cardinal is averaging 1.7 points in 27 games this season. Wolves coach Kurt Rambis often praised Cardinal this season for the leadership he showed to a young and rebuilding roster, even while he received sparse playing time.