Celtics center Darko Milicic courted by Heat

Harry How

Darko Milicic chose to sign with the Boston Celtics rather than the Miami Heat this offseason when both offered him similar contracts.

Boston Celtics center Darko Milicic could have signed with the Miami Heat this offseason, but opted to sign with the Celtics instead.

Read more: Celtics-Heat open regular season Tuesday night in Miami

The Serbian center had offers for the league minimum with both squads after the Minnesota Timberwolves chose to use the league's amnesty clause to get out of the final two years of his $20 million contract. The reason that the former No. 2 overall pick chose Boston is that he felt the Celtics needed him to play a legitimate role, whereas the Heat would have asked him to be a deep bench reserve. From Rob Bradford of WEEI.com:

"They were interested but they had guys they had before, big guys. It wasn't something I was looking for, especially signing the minimum contract," said Milic, who inked a one-year deal with the Celtics. "I was trying to find somebody who really needed me in some way. My agent told me they were interested, but they were interested just to have me on the bench. I would have been the last guy on the bench. If one of the big guys got some foul trouble I would go in and fight some of those guys."

Milicic sat out much of the preseason with a strained right wrist, but is expected to factor into a short rotation at the center spot for Boston. The Celtics will likely opt to play "small" with Kevin Garnett at the center spot for most of the time as they did last year, but will need big man depth with rookie Fab Melo the only other player listed as a center on the roster. The pivot is also a weakness for the Heat, as Udonis Haslem and Joel Anthony are the major factors on a team otherwise loaded with all-world talent. The two teams square off in a season-opening matchup Tuesday night.

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