Originally posted by Chad Ford, ESPN (sports.espn.go.com)Updated: July 1, 2010, 3:09 PM ET
Agent: Wolves, Milicic agree to deal
By Chad Ford ESPN.com
The Minnesota Timberwolves have agreed with free agent Darko Milicic on a four-year deal, his agent, Marc Cornstein, said Thursday.
The contract is worth $20 million and the fourth year is only partially guaranteed, sources close to the process told ESPN.com.
Free agents cannot formally sign contracts until July 8.
The deal for Milicic is extraordinary considering that in February he wasn't playing and said he was giving up on the NBA and returning to Europe.
Timberwolves general manager David Kahn and coach Kurt Rambis decided to take a chance on Milicic, and acquired him at the trade deadline.
Within a week, Milicic was in the starting lineup and averaged 11 points and five rebounds in March and April. He turned 25 in June, and the team believes his best days are still ahead of him.
The deal is the second for the Wolves in the first 24 hours of free agency. Earlier this morning, the team agreed to a four-year, $13 million deal with their 2008 second-round pick, Nikola Pekovic.
With the two moves, the Timberwolves spent $33 million to shore up their middle.
The Milicic and Pekovic deals severely cut into the Wolves' cap room this summer. Starting July 1, with $13 million under the cap, Minnesota now has a little less than $5 million left to use on remaining free agents.
The Wolves are hosting free agent David Lee in the coming days. However, the only way they'll be able to sign him is through a sign-and-trade.
They were scheduled to host Rudy Gay, but sources told ESPN.com's Marc Stein that he is likely to re-sign with the Grizzlies.
Sources say the Wolves will use forward Al Jefferson as trade to the Knicks.
Chad Ford covers the NBA for ESPN Insider.
Darko AND Pek! I approve!
I wonder what they'll get for Big Al - probably not nearly as much as they might have gotten, say, a year ago.
$20 million is a lot of money for a guy that wanted to go back to Europe only a couple of months ago. Maybe the Wolves can bring out the potential in the guy, but I'm pretty sure he's ruined from being a high draft pick, and not being able to work on his game in Europe for a few years like a lot of other players that have come over. It's a lot of money to throw at a guy that has spent as much time on the bench, injured and inactive lists as this guy has.
I just can't see King Richard's troops doing that to us again. But, I think that loss was the best thing for us, we've gelled since and seem to be on a mission. The great thing is that what the team is doing well does translate to the post season.