With the NBA's trading deadline just a few hours away, there have already been sweeping changes from coast to coast. And I'll bet with the headline of this post, you think I'm talking about Caron Butler or Antawn Jamison or Kevin Martin or Amare Stoudemire…
I'll be the first to admit it… As I was sitting down and watching ESPN on Wednesday night and I saw, "Breaking News" come across the Bottom Line and then saw that the New York Knicks had reached an agreement to trade… I immediately stopped, looked back down at my computer, and continued my work. I figured that this was finally the T-Mac deal that everyone was talking about that would send the former All-Star to the Big Apple.
Though McGrady was traded from Houston on Wednesday, it wasn't to New York. It was to Sacramento. Instead, the Knicks pulled off the move of the century.
In what probably amounted to be the least interesting and least impactful trade in the history of sports as we know it, Darko Milicic was traded to the Timberwolves for Brian Cardinal.
All together now: "Woohoo"
Remember when Darko was considered the next big thing on the international scene? Some people thought that he should've been the #1 overall pick that year… over some guy named LeBron. Oops. Instead, the Pistons grabbed Milicic with the #2 pick in front of stiffs like Carmelo Anthony, Chris Bosh, and Dwyane Wade.
Has there ever been a less relevant draft pick crammed in and amongst as many superstars as Darko? We all know the story of how Milicic started his career on HC Larry Brown's bench and never really emerged as anything more than a mop up player. Now, he's the butt of basically every joke in the league, including this one.
Just last month, Milicic demanded to be released from his contract, but not without collecting on his cool $7.5M. He told the New York Post that, "I would be the happiest guy if I was home with my baby." Now, just over a month later, he was sent to a version of basketball's purgatory: Minnesota.
Maybe it's a good idea to go home, Darko. You're still young, yet as the #2 overall pick in the draft… a draft position that has often provided franchises with the players that have changed their entire team history… you've only managed to be bounced around through Detroit, Orlando, Memphis, New York, and now Minnesota, and you've been dubbed, "The Human Victory Cigar," because you're only on the court for whatever team you're playing for when games are out of reach.
Truth be told, we don't even really know if Darko can ball or if he's just another prototypical big, goofy looking stiff. Maybe the opportunity is finally there for him.
While the other members of that draft class are all entering their free agent seasons and will be signing huge contracts in the summer, Milicic needs to head home and go try to reinvent himself as a player. Maybe then, someone will prove that he truly is wanted in basketball.