The name alone is enough to give you chills:
Even for me, when I heard the Celtics signed him, I skipped the analysis for a little bit and just sat to let the anguish of the moment wash over me.
We signed Darko.
Of course, when you look at it objectively, veteran minimum deals are inherently no risk because the league pays a good portion of the salary and you can just cut the guy if he’s a problem. Darko’s a tall, strong body who can rebound and block shots. And if he wasn’t named Darko… if he wasn’t the guy drafted 2nd overall… we never would have thought twice about his addition.
Doc knows that. And that’s why Darko doesn’t exist anymore.
“I tell him every day, ‘You’re no longer Darko. You’re a Celtic,’ Boston coach Doc Rivers said. “And one day, we asked him what his name was and he said, ‘Celtic.’ And everyone just started laughing. All I’m trying to do is get him to forget about trying to be something he isn’t — and just be someone for the team.”
Rivers added, “He’s got a lot of stuff on his shoulders and we’re trying to unload all of that. You go in front of Carmelo and all you’re going to do is hear that. That can get old. We’re trying to get him to move out of that.”
I love it.
It’s time for all of us, and that definitely includes me, to get past what Darko was, or was supposed to be. It’s time to just look at him as a seven-foot tall Serbian gangster who may or may not commit homicide at the team’s behest. And he’s got one advantage in Boston that he hasn’t had before: KG.
“Right now, he probably lacks a little bit of self-confidence,” Garnett said. “And I will help with that. I’ll do as much as I can to influence him and encourage him. But it’s going to take something from him, too. He’s never been around a team like this. He’s never been around guys like this. He’s never been in a situation where there is so much energy and encouragement.”
I’ll translate what KG just said:
“He’s never been anywhere with this kind of structure. He might be down on himself right now, but if he doesn’t pull his head out of his ass and become the best player he can be in Boston, then he’ll never do it anywhere.”
It’s up to
Darko now. Or whatever his name is.