Report: Darko Milicic may leave Celtics to return to Europe, sick mother

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After a preseason when Celtics fans were high on him (this is why we say don’t read much into those games), Darko Milicic has been a non-factor for the Celtics. He played five minutes in the season opener and hasn’t sniffed the court since.

Part of it is his mind is elsewhere — with his sick mother back in Europe.

And he may leave the Celtics to go back to be closer to his mother, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports.

Milicic, the No. 2 overall pick in the famed 2003 NBA Draft, didn’t travel with the Celtics to Detroit this weekend, and sources say that he’s close to deciding to leave the NBA for the season to be with his ill mother in Serbia. After failing to play since opening night, After failing to play since opening night, Milicic has also been frustrated with his lack of a role with the Celtics, sources said….

Boston coach Doc Rivers met with Milicic recently and told him to take time to make a decision on his family and future, sources said. Milicic had been productive in the preseason, but has fallen behindJason Collins in the Celtics’ rotation.

First things first, we wish Milicic, his mother and their family the best. That is what really is important, not basketball.

That said, you get the feeling if Darko heads to Europe he will not be back in the NBA ever. He has flirted with the idea in recent years but stayed this year to play with Boston, except he can’t get on the court with a team and coach that demands focus and attention to detail from its players.

But if Darko does leave, who fills the spot?

The obvious name on the market is Kenyon Martin, and he would certainly bring more than Milicic has to the table. He’s also a four, not a five, and would make the Celtics smaller. But there are not quality seven footers on the free agent market, and the Celtics sent Fab Melo to the D-League because he has a lot of work to do before he could help a veteran contender.