One of the reasons I started this blog was to explain to the less than average NBA fan why teams do what they do. Unfortunately teams don't act GM-wise until the offseason or right before the trade deadline so I'm going to do my best to try and write about all the trades and give some kind of NEW insight that hasn't been beat to death so far - So let's take a look at a trade that may have gone unnoticed -
New York Knicks trade Darko Milicic to the Minnesota Timberwolves for Brian Cardinal.
Darko's contract - One year (this year) for $7.5 million, free agent this summer.This is kind of a head scratcher at first glance, for the Wolves at least. Everyone and their mom knows that New York is saving every penny they can for this summer's free agents and here, they saved about $1 million. But let's look at some recent news to see what the Wolves are up to:
Cardinal's contract - One year (this year for $6.7 million, free agent this summer.
Darko hasn't played in the past few months and in December, getting fed up with riding the bench in New York, he said
"Whatever happens, I'm going back next year," ... "It's 100-percent certain. I have to be real and not lie. I'm not going to get it done in the NBA. I'm not going to get another opportunity and there's nothing wrong with going back to Europe. I don't want to create a bad atmosphere here, but it's not working in the NBA." (Source: NY Post)Now he said 100%, but that may have been frustration talking and maybe on the Wolves' he'll get some decent playing time. According to the AP, he will have "a 27 game audition at center," provided he shows up! He hasn't seen decent gaming action since about... March of last year-ish?
Hopefully he's been staying in shape and working out (I bet he has if he planned to play in Europe next season but we'll see).
The Wolves have a center by the way- Ryan Hollins who's been putting up Darko-like numbers - 6 points, 3 rebounds in 17 minutes a night. At the end of Minnesota games, Al Jefferson and Kevin Love are the one's who play as Minnesota's bigs anyways.
For Darko's sake, this could be his last 20-something games we'll ever see of him in the NBA. Sucks he could never get anything going. First he didn't play for a championship Piston squad. Then he got some decent minutes for Orlando averaging 8 pts, 5 rebounds in 22 minutes for one and a half seasons. Signed a nice $7 million for 3 years with Memphis (BasketballReference) - he started and then was benched his second year for terrible Memphis teams that didn't win more than 25 games. Then traded for Quentin Richardson (one of Q's many trades last summer), where he played in 8 games and then was benched. Just couldn't quite get it going. Minnesota looks like the last chance for his days in the NBA, otherwise we'll see him in the Olympics every 4 years, where he hopefully won't be on the bench for most of the game.
(Photo from nba.com)