The Celtics waived forward Darius Miles today, trimming the roster to 15 players, the league maximum once the season begins.
Miles, the third pick in the 2000 draft out of high school, missed the last two seasons after having microfracture surgery on his right knee. He has not played in a regular season game since 2005-06, when he was with the Portland Trail Blazers.
Darius Miles looks to make a move on Philadelphia’s Theo Ratliff in the first half of a 2008 preseason game. (AP)
He has averaged 10.6 points and 5.2 rebounds per game in his injury-plagued and often disappointing NBA career, but Celtics general manager Danny Ainge said Miles, who was signed as a free agent Aug. 22, 2008, made a good impression during his brief time with the club.
“Darius was a model citizen during his time here in Boston. He showed that he still has a lot of basketball left in him.” said Ainge said in a press release.
The 6-foot-9-inch, 235-pound forward appeared in six preseason games for the Celtics, averaging 1.8 points and 1.3 rebounds in 10.4 minutes per game.
Celtics coach Doc Rivers concurred with Ainge’s assessment, saying he still sees potential in Miles and wanted him to have a shot with another team.
“He did a lot of good things. He definitely can play in this league,” Rivers said at today’s practice. “You never know if he’ll be back here or not.”
Miles, 27, was the only player in camp with a non-guaranteed contract, and the writing may have been on the wall when he did not see any action in Friday night’s preseason loss to the Knicks. By waiving Miles, the Celtics are not required to make another move before the season begins Oct. 28, meaning Sam Cassell, Bill Walker, Patrick O’Bryant, Gabe Pruitt, and Brian Scalabrine can all remain on the roster if the Celtics wish.
Miles would have been suspended for the first 10 games of the season for testing positive for a banned substance, the diet drug phentermine, which he has denied taking.
The Blazers are likely celebrating the Celtics’ decision. Had Miles played 10 games during this season or next, the remaining $18 million on the six-year, $48-million contract he signed with Portland would go back on the Blazers’ books, though it wouldn’t count against the salary cap because, as the Oregonian reported in July, an independent doctor determined the injury was career-ending.
With Miles gone, the Celtics do not need so make any more roster cuts before the season begins (though they still could). Here are the final results of our nonscientific poll, which asked readers to choose who they would cut from the roster (1,939 votes):
Sam Cassell — 39.7 percent
Brian Scalabrine — 31.7 percent
Darius Miles — 9.6 percent
Patrick O’Bryant — 5.3 percent
Gabe Pruitt — 4.5 percent
J.R. Giddens — 3 percent
Glen Davis — 1.1 percent
(Chad Finn and Monique Walker of the Globe staff contributed to this report.)