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We're still waiting on our friends at Free Darko to chime in, but ESPN has the story: The enigma, the monster, the wooly mammoth, the reckoning that is Darko Milicic is close to being traded, along with Carlos Arroyo, to the Orlando Magic for a first round pick and Kelvin Cato. (And who wouldn't make that same deal for Dywane Wade or Carmelo Anthony? Who's with us?!)

The story of Darko in Detroit has been a bizarre, rather limp and pallid one that is extensively detailed here. And the story of Darko will never be complete without including ESPN's Chad Ford, whose career has been linked to Darko's ever since comparing him to Hakeem Olajuwon and Kevin Garnett back when Ford was pretty much the only guy who had ever seen him play. We have always wondered what Darko thought of Ford, this short red-headed American who always seemed to light up when he walked in the room. Why is he so excited? Think he has any smokes?

Darko traded. Sad day.

Darko Freed [Mickey Tettleton Memorial Overpass]
Darko Trade Close [ESPN]

(UPDATE: Here's something funny: A roundup of pre-draft quotes about Darko. So many great ones.)


(SECOND UPDATE: Not eager to be monkeys trotted out to dance, The Free Darko folks have nevertheless spoken.)

(THIRD UPDATE: And now you can't keep those Free Darko kids quiet! They've posted a killed magazine piece about Darko that, frankly, is pretty fantastic.)