Milicic, Grizzlies agree on three-year deal

Free-agent center Darko Milicic agreed in principle to a three-year contract with the Memphis Grizzlies on Wednesday, the player's agent Marc Cornstein told ESPN.com Insider Chad Ford.

Darko Milicic


Orlando Magic


Cornstein refused to disclose the amount of the deal, but the starting salary is believed to be for substantially more than the $5.3 million mid-level exception.

ESPN The Magazine's Ric Bucher, citing anonymous sources, is reporting that the deal is for three years and $21 million. A formal team announcement could take place as early as Thursday.

"We are extremely excited for this new opportunity," Cornstein said. "Darko's going to a team that really wants him. He's going to a young team with an exciting bright future much like his own. We're very excited Darko gets to learn from coach Marc Iavaroni. We believe he's one of the best big men coaches in the game. And we couldn't be happier that he has found a new home where he's appreciated."

Milicic was recently waived by the Orlando Magic to clear the cap room necessary to sign
Rashard Lewis.

"Memphis has really pursued Darko since the moment he became an unrestricted free agent last week," Cornstein said. "And I'm grateful for the opportunity they'll be providing for Darko at this stage of his career."

Milicic was the second pick in the 2003 NBA draft. He was taken ahead of All-Stars like
Carmelo Anthony, Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade and was widely regarded as a draft bust heading into his third season.

Milicic was traded to the Magic in February of 2006 and began to turn around his career. He averaged eight points and 5.5 rebounds in 23 minutes per game for the Magic last season. But he upped his average to 12.3 points per game in the playoffs this year.

Magic general manager Otis Smith said that the team's top priority in the offseason was signing Milicic, but he reversed course after it became clear that signing Lewis would take all of their cap room.

Milicic should address the Grizzlies' biggest offseason need -- adding a center to play with Pau Gasol. His game appears to complement Iavaroni's up-tempo system.

Chad Ford covers the NBA for ESPN Insider.