The Celtics announced today that they have signed 6'9" free agent forward Darius Miles to a non-guaranteed contract. He was originally drafted with the third overall pick in the 2000 NBA draft by the Los Angeles Clippers. After 2 years with the Clippers, he played 1 year with the Cavaliers and then was traded to the Portland Trailblazers 67 games into the following season. He averaged a career high 14.0 points and 4.6 rebounds in the 40 games before his injury. He missed all of the 2006-07 and 2007-08 seasons after having microfracture surgery on his right knee.
It was determined that the damage to Miles' knee was severe enough to be classified as career-ending, prompting the Blazers to request waivers for his release. They were given relief by the league from the $18 million left on Miles' contract. This had to grate on every Celtic fan as when Reggie Lewis died, the league refused to give the Celtics any cap relief. Now that he signed with the Celtics, all he has to do is play in 10 games next season and he will be guaranteed the $18 million that was left on his contract with the Blazers.
Miles has been the subject of some controversy in his career and there was one incident in Portland when he reportedly insulted coach Maurice Cheeks with racial slurs. If he impresses the Celtics and makes the team, he will face a 10 day suspension to start the season as the result of failing a drug test for what has been speculated to be a performance enhancing substance.
It says alot about Miles that he was able to come back from the injury. He had to have worked incredibly hard to get to where he is at. This could show that he has also outgrown the immaturity that caused the problems early in his career. This from Miles, as reported in the Globe:
“I’ve watched the Boston Celtics play a lot last year and loved what I saw in their teamwork and chemistry on the court and it’s the team that I want to try to resume my career with.” Miles said in a press release. “I am excited about having an opportunity to play on a team that I feel my personality fits with and a team that can have great success on the court.”
And this from Danny:
"He's coming to training camp and he's going to try to prove that he can make the team," said Celtics general manager Danny Ainge. "He has come in for a couple of workouts. He'll try to make the team somehow."
"He's healthy. He has a great attitude. He's ready to resume his career," said Ainge.
This is a good move by Danny. The contract is non guaranteed and he will need to show he can play to make the team. Miles was on his way to being a very good player before the injury and reports from his workouts have been very positive.